Friday, December 2, 2016

Sources of Inspiration

A fellow blogger requested stories about people who have inspired us.  Just passing this along. .  She's begun publishing them in her blog.  Neat!  I myself haven't contributed my story.   I feel embarrassed to admit I didn't meet my first inspiring person until age 29.  I suppose I could write about him.  His tenderness introduced me to heaven on earth.  But, when I say I have no stories of inspiration from birth through age 29, I have to specify exactly what inspires me.


Tenderhearted people.  I wonder if it's different for you? There are so many sources of inspiration.  After all, historically, inspiration was something from God.   Don't get me wrong.  I love God.   Yet nothing comes close to human tenderness.

I was curious.   When did 'tender' as a word come into existence?  As a value?  I rooted around in an online Etymological Dictionary.   'Tender' in the English language first came along as an adjective in the 1200's.


adjective 1. "soft, easily injured," 1200's, from Old French tendre "soft, delicate; young" (1000), from Latin tenerem (nominative tener) "soft, delicate; of tender age, youthful," centuries before.

Tender defined as "kind, affectionate, loving" did not develop until the 1300's.

So...when did 'tender' and 'hearted' first get put together into one word?

The first word connected with 'hearted' was 'hard'.  This was the period when 'tender' meant "soft, easily injured".

Hard-hearted, on the other hand, came into vogue as a desirable quality.

Originally "obdurate, unfeeling," in 1200, grew to mean "bold, courageous" by 1400. 

The meaning of 'hard-hearted' has evolved to mean "incapable of being moved to pity or tenderness; unfeeling". 

I guess in some quarters, hard-hearted is still inspirational...

Not until 1530, were 'tender' and 'hearted'  joined as one.

adjective 1." compassion for another's distress" 2. "easily moved to love".

Good thing 'tenderhearted' came along, or I wouldn't have the right word for what inspires me. 

Me, I didn't encounter 'tenderhearted' until adulthood. Mom was a hard hearted alcoholic, with nary a tender bone in her body.  Dad was an engineer.  Good at fixing things, not feeling feelings.  And even with the inspiration my late husband brought, I lost sight of 'tenderhearted' after he died.  Turned out deep down I had the 'If you knew me, you wouldn't love me' syndrome that kids from neglectful and abusive homes have.  If you relate, go to   It's where my recovery started.

Some say Jesus brought Inspiration.  To the degree Jesus helps us feel loved, I agree. This IS good news.   More moving for me, inspiration comes from the good news tenderhearted people bring. The news I now bring myself.

"To know you is to love you."


Who or what inspires you these days?


  1. I came. I read. I can't relate. It's not that I haven't had people inspire Oprah back in the day, but I don't connect tenderness or tenderheartedness with inspiration. Someone can treat you with tenderness and teach you to be tender by example, but to me inspiration comes from a different place, an intellectual place where you are inspired to reach deep within to be a better person, push your boundaries and fly. Because you didn't have tenderness as a child---okay, I just had a light bulb moment: maybe what you're saying is that you husband's tenderness with you helped you do that---dig deep within to see and accept the tenderness in the world that was not modeled to you as a child?

    1. PS. Maybe I should have read Martha's blog before I replied. LOL

  2. :-D your lightbulb moment is it! Only, since that quick study didn't retool my heart, I erroneously believed he was this lifetime's 'dose' of tenderness. Unless I adopted a dog, of course.

    Only this year have I begun to see and accept the tenderness in the world, that was not modelled to me as a child. A tender heart is worth all the tea in China to me.

    The first story in Martha's blog tells of a very special grandmother.

  3. The first thing I thought of, when remembering an inspirational person, was also along the lines of Jean! A teacher, a mentor, a boss, a leader of some sort....intellectual.

    Because I am SOOOO lucky to have tenderness and nurturing all of my life.

  4. Hi, AW! Yes, you are fortunate, and your grandkids are so fortunate you're passing it along to them. Happy travels back to Oregon!

  5. No human inspires me now. I get inspiration from God Whispers--ideas that just come into my head for no reason at all. My Grandma was my tenderhearted person. She adored me and I knew it!!!

  6. God whispers - the highest source of 'inspiration'. I wonder if the veil between us and God gets thinner, or our inner hearing gets better as we age. Or less static.

    Jean, Am I allowed to borrow your Grandma? I mean, she's up there, maybe she can adopt me!

    1. Lol. I mean...Judy, it's YOUR grandma I'd like to borrow. (Where's the edit button on this blog?)

  7. Tenderness frees us of fear. It's the feeling of being cherished just as we are.
    I think you are right that it inspires us and that as we age and realize our limits, it's the tenderness of God that heals us from our broken dreams.
    Love your blog with its many hard won healing insights.

    1. Hello, Carbonated Grace. Carbon, the basis of our bodies, and spiritual grace. Is this blend what you mean by your titile?

      In recent days, I'm probing more experientially into the nature of God, opening my heart to learn, rather than learn within my mind's 'puny' frame of reference. So glad you came by to visit!