What constitutes a tender moment? Anything in life that helps make us aware of our deep connectedness with each other, of our common struggle, our common wound, our common sin, and our common need for help: the suffering face of another which mirrors our own pain, the sense of our physical mortality, the acceptance of our own sin, the beauty of nature, the eagerness and innocence of children, the fragility of the aged, and, of course, not least, moments of intimacy, of friendship, of celebration, of every kind of shared joy, pain or vulnerability. Ronald Roheiser
This week we are on holiday, it is an opportunity for another set of tender moments. Holidays give the opportunity for some family time that isn’t usually possible because of geographical distance. The picture is a previous year’s birthday present having a tender moment with the adorable nephew’s teddy bear! Today the adorable nephew is staying with us, tender moments will include the annual pancake making and the attempts to emulate Paul’s ability at tossing them high in the air! Yesterday Paul and I had the opportunity to create some tender moments as we did one of our favourite day trips which starts with a bacon sandwich and coffee at one of our favourite seaside cafes and includes fish and chips at a different seaside cafe, walking on the cliff and the beach and dreaming together about some new idea…
The other sort of tender moments are not absent but are perhaps less in focus in a week away. However, I did post my first ever selfie on facebook and saw the lines on my face and round my neck and was reminded of my own mortality which tends to happen now when I celebrate a birthday. Facebook, Twitter and Radio 4 mean I am still aware of what is going on in the world which can mean shared tears as well as shared laughter. As I type this Seve Ballesteros is on the television, we listened to the Carpenters in the car – two premature deaths which bring fleeting sadness along with the gratitude of such giftedness.
We also saw some of the devastation of the storms, wrecked beach huts, sandbags, the sort of rock that could kill you if it hit you strewn all over the promenade, this all seemed so poignant on a day when nature seemed so beautiful, so calm. I am really challenged by Roheiser’s concept of tender moments – the nice ones are very easy to grasp and to celebrate but I am so aware of the need for connectedness, for sharing, the good and the bad and to enable people to celebrate our shared humanity. I am reminded of God’s tender moment with Adam and Eve when he clothed them despite of their choices (Genesis 3.21). It is so encouraging to know we can have our tender moments with God when we need them the most.
Ronald Rolheiser Forgotten Among the Lilies New York Image Doubleday p123