A gentle heart takes aim …
Sometimes an emotional experience is overwhelming, especially for a person with a gentle heart. Let me tell you what happened to me the other day.
“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” Mahatma Gandhi
Point blank – gentle heart
I entered our lounge to the sound of a moderate riot. To assist the mayhem, our grandsons have guns that fire missiles with orange tips. Just as my eyes look around the door, the youngest decided to blast our television from close range. The TV wobbled .
A brisk beckoning summoned the young gunslinger to take a seat beside me on the couch (it can also be a trampoline when I’m not around).
Have you ever tried the serious-faced, I’m going to share an essential and powerful insight with you. I pulled him close with a deep sigh, a grandfatherly frown, and laid a meaty arm on his shoulder. The weight of thoughtful wisdom brought my head close to his and our eyes connected.
‘Bit thoughtless, that one.’
‘Put yourself in my shoes,’ (aren’t clichés wonderful?)
‘I said sorry.’
‘Imagine the telly had fallen over and you’d broken it … and I couldn’t watch it.’ My voice may have been slightly more than a man-to-man murmur.
He sat back, mental cogs whirring away. In moments his lip trembled and he wept. Of course, at six-years-old, with a large unhappy grandfather hugging your shoulder there aren’t many options. In an instant, my heart ached at his distress as tears ran down his cheeks and his head hung. A big kid with equally large sobs, I pulled him on to my lap and gave him a hug.
Man to man
Next, I stood him in front of me. Once more, we faced each other eye to eye. Then, my lightbulb came on. Imagine, his young human being was crying for me, for the pain he imagined he caused me, and in grief, because he didn’t want hurt or separation, ever.
Dry your eyes
I hugged him again, acknowledged his tears and told him how much I valued his love and concern … his gentle heart. His face lightened as we agreed it’s never a good idea to shoot TVs. Following up, we shared our delight that the gogglebox survived without a mark. It wasn’t long before we were laughing and enjoying each others’ company as usual.
There was a gift in the situation for both of us:
- For me? I’m filled with gratitude for a young person’s love and sincere intent not to harm me … even if, from time to time, he becomes a thoughtless human wrecking ball.
- For him? I believe this grows empathy and a developing sense of being loved and respected, even when his behaviour deserves, and gets, a rebuke.
I don’t think he’ll be shooting TVs again any time soon, but not so sure about the safety of our apple tree and fence posts.
The last time I wrote about him (gentle heart) was when he might have died.