read to feed the soul
Written by FBJ Women for Women
by: Camille Anding
A Gentle Touch
It was one of those thin slices of my childhood that seems to hold a permanent piece of my memories. My family and I were visiting my great grandmother Bounds who lived in a stately white-framed home in Oxford. Not only was it a “city house,” it had a street light and sidewalks. Visiting her was like a vacation.
I still remember her snow-white hair that she pulled back loosely into a roll that circled her face and her Sunday-style dresses she always wore. I probably didn’t know the proper definition of aristocrat, but in my young mind my Mama Bounds warranted the title.
On one of our visits I spent too much time around the backyard plum tree that hung heavy in its ripe fruit. The more I ate, the better they tasted, but repercussions were in store. A vicious stomach ache sent me inside – groaning in pain. Mama Bounds insisted I lie down on her feather bed until the pain stopped.
I remember Mother rushing to my aid, but Mama Bounds sat down beside me and rolled my T-shirt up and began to gently rub my stomach. How is it that many decades later I still remember her unbelievably soft hand comforting me? That timeworn hand that had never been calloused with garden or lawn tools moved in circles in cloud-like softness. I’m certain the pain didn’t linger long, but my memory of her gentle hand has.
Our world doesn’t have much use for the word “gentle.” So much of response to being offended or displeased is harshness or anger. Words are coarse and actions violent. Abrasiveness seems to be the acceptable behavior in communication and action. How different our local and national news would be if everyone followed Paul’s admonition to the Philippians: “Let your gentleness be known to all men.”
There’s so little I remember about my Mama Bounds. I’m certain there was a lot about her life in the city that would have fascinated me. She probably shared stories about her own childhood, but time has erased those. I can’t even remember anything she served us in the crystal bowls on her buffet overlooking the streets below. However, I still remember her gentleness in my pain. In today’s world, I would acknowledge that as a meritorious art, Mama Bounds.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5
God of All Comfort, teach me gentleness in dealing with my family, friends, and strangers. It’s my opportunity to make fond memories if I learn to be gentle in my words and actions. But most of all, I want to be like You. Amen
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