Gentleness and Hugs

In my life I have experienced a lot of different types of hugs. I have gotten the warm hug that goes on forever. I have gotten the bear hug that squeezes the air right out of your lungs. I have gotten the neck hug where the little child jumps in your arms and wraps lovingly around your neck. I have gotten the back slapper hug where the hugger gives you the bam, bam on the back. I have even gotten the leg hug which toddlers all over the world use to melt your heart. The most memorable hug I ever got, however, came when I was a teenager.

I was visiting a monastery in the Midwest with several other boys. Our guide took us through the simple rooms where the Priests and Monks lived, worked, and prayed. As we entered a small kitchen one of the Brothers walked in. To say he was intimidating would have been an understatement. He was a giant of a man. He stood well over six and a half feet tall. He must have weighed over three hundred pounds as well. He looked like a lineman for a professional football team dressed in a brown, wool robe. As we talked, though, his kind spirit and delightful sense of humor put us all at ease. That is until he rose to leave. Then he walked right at me to give me a hug. At first I feared he might crack a rib, but when he took me in his huge arms all I felt was the love from his soul. It was the gentlest hug I ever got.

Leo Rosten said: "It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong." I learned that lesson first hand in the arms of one of the strongest but gentlest spirits I have ever met in this world. He showed me with one hug that God is love and that our real strength comes from loving each other as He loves us. He showed me that our true power comes when we arenít afraid to embrace our goodness or express our joy. He showed me too that gentleness and hugs will forever go together. May your life always be full of both.

Joseph J. Mazzella [email protected]

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