This Morning, Tenderness

This morning, tenderness.

For the friend who just told me she and her husband are separating.
For the friend who lost her job and had to find a new place to live with three kids.
For the friend who went back to college in her 40s.
For the friend who sang at the open mike.
For the friend who walked past the open bar.
For the friend who passed the bar and took her life back.
For the friend who took her life.
For the friend who is running an endless marathon.
For the friend who is avoiding the breast surgeon.
For the friend who is on a plane with a breastfeeding baby flying across hemispheres.
For the friend who I met when I was four months old and dreamed of this week.
For the friend who brought her whole brood and graced my kitchen with healing laughter.
For the friend who sews and teaches yoga through the pain of carpal tunnel.
For the friend who taught me to say it without the drama.
For the friend who taught me how to cure an iron skillet.
For the friend who is learning she can love more than one person.
For the friend who is quitting smoking.
For the friend who discovered she is bipolar.
For the friend who forgave. For the friend who hasn’t.
For the friend who I see in the schoolyard and wave to from afar. I wonder how you are.
For the friend who thinks I’ve forgotten. I haven’t.
For the friend who finished writing her first book.
For the friend who rises every morning to greet the sun.
For the friend who has abandoned fertility treatments.
For the friend who leans into the gust and says the wind is everything.
For the friend who rides her sadness so gracefully.
For the friend who walks to school everyday with her children.
For the friend who lives bookended between aging parents and little ones, caring for both.
For the friend who circles with me in dreams.
For the friend whose face I’ve never seen yet would recognize in a crowded airport terminal.
For the friend who is learning to love his wildness.
For the friend who is brave enough to love again.
For the friend who hasn’t dated since the divorce.
For the friend who dreams of her days on stage, or in the studio, or out at sea.

This morning, tenderness.

For my far-flung friends.
For good enough being enough.
For knowing we all do our best.
For circling around the hole without having to collapse into it.
For resilience.
For faith in the face of uncertainty.
For how the screen can connect us. And isolate us so.
For noticing the hunger for more face time. Feet-rubbing time. Laughter.
For how far the borders between lives can seem.

Such tenderness, this morning. For you.

10 thoughts on “This Morning, Tenderness

  1. Lindsey says:

    Oh, Jena – so, so, so beautifully. Tenderness is all. Gentleness, kindness. Thank you for this reminder of our common humanity even in our very disparate individual circumstances.


  2. gailnhb says:

    Oh, dear sweet Jena – this is gorgeous. Tender. Loving. Kind.

    I saw myself in so many of those descriptions and felt the tenderness flowing my way. Thank you so much – even if you weren’t referring directly to me, I am in that list. And so are you. So are you.


  3. julie (Kavanaugh) Peisel says:

    I thank you for my tears. I have been holding it together so long and wanting to let go and cry, but for some reason, have not been able to. I read this piece and had a good, quiet cry as I drink my morning coffee. Thank you.


  4. simone says:

    I needed every ounce of this today. Thank you for unfreezing the air so I can take a deeper breath…a little ray of sun breaking through my fog of sadness and loss


  5. Shell says:

    Such stunning words… so many of them pulled on the strings attached to my heart…. with a tear in my eye, a lump in my throat, and a calmness in my heart that I am not alone….. I thank you and wish you blessings, joy and love, much love xxxx



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