Rev. Dr. Chuck Moffett
One of the classic Aesop’s fables tells of a dispute between the WIND and the SUN, as to which had the greater strength. In order to settle the dispute, they agreed that whichever one could force a traveler coming down the road to take off his coat, that one would be the stronger of the two.
The WIND was the first to try. He puffed, and roared, and wailed against the traveler. But the harder he blew, the more closely he wrapped his coat around him.
Then it was the turn for the SUN. Quietly and gently he shown down on the traveler until, in the comforting warmth of his rays, the traveler threw aside his coat.
The gentleness of the sun proved to be stronger than the bluster of the wind.
We live in a noisy, competitive, violent, divisive world. Headlines and tweets from all sides encourage us to take sides by being assertive, to fight our way to the top, to look out only for self. We are encouraged to believe that roughness, rudeness, and ridicule are signs of strength.
We dismiss the power of gentleness, kindness, compassion because they seem to appear as weakness, capitulation, and compromise of self.
Consider the power of gentle drops of dripping water which can wear down a mighty rock. Watch the power of a young, tender plant which thrives by gently pushing through a piece of concrete on its pursuit of light.
If there is any virtue in Valentine’s Day, other than gilding the coffers of Hallmark and Hershey, perhaps it is to remember that love is expressed in a gentle whisper, not a self-serving shout. Healing comes from the gentleness of a listening, respectful spirit. Compassion comes in the form of the presence of a patient friend.