by William W. Runyeon

Tenderness does not arise from
the beauty and motion of the dark clouds,
of the rain, or its passing,
or the air, purged in a breeze,
slight but apparent, drifting
from the direction of the rain.
It comes from a sense of wholeness
that overrides the sequence of time
and the weather, that partakes
of the sequence of time, and the weather,
and fulfills a meaning in its passing
imperfectly held in our words,
our capacity for recognition,
in a way that does not pass.
It comes from the place fear and
emptiness cannot reach, from a turn
of heart and then of mind touched
with solitude, and with a sense of
God’s presence. It comes, coherent,
first from gratitude, as a habit of mind,
then the further sense that others,
of the living, shall be treated in
the light of thankfulness, with a
prayer offered up for us all, here
and gone, in the light of God’s mercy,
in the beauty of the rain,
and its passing.

— From the November 11, 2013 issue of National Review.