As we pass over the threshold between years
I hope for you, tenderness;
that you become tenderness.

Tender with your longings,
tender with the things that are still impossible.
Tender.

May you hold grief in your hand like a tender shoot.
May impatience break apart into rich soil.
May you honour and be touched by the earth.

May your heart close each day and each evening
with gratitude and concern
around doctors, nurses, health tenders,
pouring themselves out,
“one life/ one life/ one life/one life/one life”.

May you hold them each day in the small flower of your prayer.
May you breathe in their work.

May you be tender too with the rawness of injustices
revealed, perpetrated, structured,
again, and again, and again.
“one life/ one life/ one life/one life/one life”.
May you be fiercely tender
Enough that you may be penetrated;
Shaped into meaningful response.

May you be tender with children
with those who are seeing their dreams
or their dignity slip away

With those who are afraid or angry
may you be porous and sheltering as marshes.

With those who are careless or malign
may your tenderness be as resilience and resistance

May you become tenderness

In this new year,
I hope for you.

Catherine Smith © 2021

The quotation, “one life/ one life/ one life/one life” is from Padraig O’Tuama’s poem, “The Pedagogy of Conflict”.  Originally published in Sorry for your Troubles (Canterbury Press, 2013).