Tenderness strikes me as a component in that which is called "precious," but there are other competing dictionary components as well:
▸ adjective: of high worth or cost ("Diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are precious stones")
▸ adjective: characterized by feeling or showing fond affection for ("Children are precious")
▸ adjective: obviously contrived to charm ("An insufferably precious performance")
▸ adverb: extremely ("There is precious little time left")
So what is precious can truly touch the heart or cloy like a self-help missal.
In spiritual endeavor, people sometimes seek protection in the preciousness of their observances and outlook: Because this endeavor is truly touching to an uncertain heart or mind, adherents can build up adamant excuses for not really looking into things. "God is good. End of story."
But where is the line between what is truly precious, truly touching, truly consoling and sensible ... and the defensive spires that can grow up out of that uncertainty or sorrow or suffering? I don't know.
Lately, I seem to have been surrounded by a lot of sad stories, a lot of confusion, a lot of very touching stuff. So I was thinking about what might be precious and what might be excused because it was called precious.
Just an idea that got caught between my teeth.