by Julie Redstone
The heart that desires to nurture all of God's living creatures is a heart of tenderness. It seeks to care for all creatures, great and small, with the love of a mother for a small child, always wanting the best for it, always trying to help, protect, and support it toward the most complete expression of its inner being.
Tenderness is the outflow of a love that witnesses the beauty of Creation and of souls, and that wants, above all, to help, to serve, and to enhance this beauty. It perceives those areas of life that exist in limitation and unconsciousness
The heart of the earth is a heart of tenderness, for the earth shelters and nurtures all the life that inhabits her sphere in the way of a mother who cherishes all that is part of her. Mankind, however, with some notable exceptions, has not yet developed a heart of tenderness toward the earth, toward the trees and forests, the rivers and streams, and toward the air itself, all of which may be treated tenderly and with care, or forcefully and with indifference.
Tenderness also applies to man's treatment of the animal kingdom – to the conscious awareness and celebration of the diversity of life within this kingdom, with the desire to preserve and protect it. With an open heart, it is increasingly possible to witness the great beauty and complexity of animal life on the earth with an understanding we would not have been capable of decades ago. Today, we can perceive greater consciousness, depth, feeling. and commitment within the life of animals. This greater knowledge gives substance to our picture of life within the animal kingdom as having more consciousness and feeling than we previously knew.
All of life is meant to be an interaction of one tenderness with another, for tenderness and indifference are incompatible. Where one is, the other cannot be. In fact, we are moving, today, in the direction of being no longer able to respond to life indifferently. Life itself, and the circumstances of life, are calling this forth from us and from our expanding awareness. And the requirements of love produced by the heart's greater opening is creating an upsurge of a desire to treat the world gently and with heart.
When human beings can also touch the souls of one another tenderly and with infinite care, treating other souls as one would a precious being that needed to be met with support, gentleness, and love, then much will change. Then, all that we see of conflict based on indifference, separation, ignorance, self-seeking, and a willingness to act without care for the consequences to others, will disappear into an entirely new way of being. Such a new way is based on the opening of the heart to the truth of life's oneness. It is also based on the proximity of the soul to speak to the heart within the course of everyday life.
The song of the whale is a song of tenderness. The sounds of a baby's laughter are sounds of tenderness. The sighing of the wind in the trees are the breaths of the tender heart of mother Earth. The rain falling is an act of tenderness as it brings forth new life. Everywhere, the sounds and sights of nature are expressing themselves with tenderness for the greater life of which they are a part. It is up to the collective family of humanity, now, to recognize this heart of the earth which is its own heart, and to become one with it as we seek to become living expressions of the tender heart of God upon the earth and with one another.
When what is tender can be celebrated in the same way that what was powerful was once celebrated, the world will have arrived at a new place of purity and of love, and life will take on the form of its sanctified expression, ordained from the beginning as its rightful place within the sacred universe of God.