Letter from the Director – December 2022

Only the Gentle

I’m looking for a word to describe what I’m sensing and needing these days. The last week has been damp and the skies have held a blue-gray hue against the horizon. Days linger as long as they can until the hush of evening falls and the light slowly fades into darkness. What I see when I look across the quiet country fields in this early winter season is the soft glow of Christmas lights from nearby houses, and the trees lit up white and gold. I don’t think about the holiday bustle and busyness; rather, I think of how the light streams across the land like ribbons and how dusk glows with a sort of promise. It’s as if everything is settling into itself, bedding down with gentle sighs. Gentle breaths. It’s a different sort of season. 

Then I have it. The word I’m looking for is gentle. It’s not a word I typically associate with the holidays, but maybe it’s a word worth considering. I recently read the phrase, “Only the gentle are truly strong,” and I’ve carried those words with me through these chilled days. I’m intrigued by phrases like this. Both “gentle” and “strong” are fair words, good words, words we wish to claim for ourselves. Carry them together and the meaning shifts slightly. To be strong is one thing, but to show strength through gentleness is quite another. That demonstrates choice and control, and maybe more importantly, restraint. 

For me, December is the month for winding down the year, gathering the threads of experiences and weaving a cloth of remembrance. As I prepare for 2023, I want to honor 2022 for its lessons. I don’t want to impose judgment or label what was good, what was bad. Instead, I want to allow and accept, acknowledge the happenings of the year with respect and introspection. I want to treat them gently, and maybe through that gentleness find strength to move forward, make changes, and grow. I never want to be static. I want to be moving with intention towards something better.

With that in mind, I wish you, dear writers and friends, a holiday season of gentle strength and a time for gathering what you’ll need for the new year. We’ll be doing the same here at RWC as we close for 4 weeks and make plans to reopen the first weekend in January for the Writing Goals Retreat. We hope you take time to ponder what is gentle, what is strong in your life, and how those good words become better when carried together. 

Blessings and Happy Holidays,