A three-month-old rhino was brought to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center after being found next to his dead mother who had been tragically and brutally poached for her horn. It was a devastating sight, as the animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably.
Ultimately, they had to sedate the baby rhino to move him to the center, and with the help of a gentle caretaker they were finally able to calm him. That caretaker sat on the ground holding in her lap the baby rhino’s head, stroking it to calm him. That gentle touch helped the baby to sleep, and eventually gain strength to eat.
This story of this baby rhino is a reminder about how much tender action and attitudes play in healing hurting hearts. Humans, in particular love to be loved. Harshness pains us, and even when we are healthy, un-gentleness touches the sensitive spirit like frost touches flowers. It stunts growth and damages. Gentleness helps all the delicate things in us to heal and grow.
Each day many people, like this baby rhino, have a great need for tenderness. No one knows the secret burdens many of those around us are carrying. Not all grief wears the outward garb of mourning; smiling faces quite often veil heavy hearts. Many people who make no audible appeal for help crave tenderness as they bend beneath heavy burdens.
Tenderness can seldom go wrong. There is no day when it will be untimely, and not a place where it will not be welcome. In a world that so quickly tears down, tenderness does no harm. In fact, as David wrote, “Thy gentleness has made me great.” Psalm 18:35