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Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

It smacks me, sometimes,

how connected we are—

though we draw boundaries,

build walls, fight wars,

call names, and kill. All it takes

is a photo of earth from space

and I’m stunned again,

how much we are in this together.

And though we’d rather not know it,

every choice we make

affects everyone, everything else.

Perhaps this is why I weep

when the woman I’ve barely met

embroiders me a sweater

with a word she knows I’ll love

and then brings it to my home.  

Because it’s proof of kindness,

a confirmation that beauty

not only exists, it will lead us to each other.

How easily two strangers

might become friends.

It can happen anywhere

on this small blue and green planet—

anywhere two people co-exist,

the invitation to be generous,

thoughtful, to think of new ways

to be good to each other.

Each kindness a bridge that spans

the world’s flaws. Each moment,

another chance to build another bridge.

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for Jennifer Unterberg

 

 

In the picture on the news,

the little black girl holds a sign

that says, I’m your next president.

And in the grocery store,

the clerk smiles at me from behind her mask

and compliments my dress.

Consumed as I’ve been

with a sorrow so great

it swallowed our country whole,

I had thought it would take an energy

equally great and opposite

to pull me away from the bleak edge.

But then a stranger walked up to my car

where I was parked on the side of the road

to make sure I was okay. And just like that

I felt myself backing away from the edge,

just a bit, just a bit.

 

It can be so small, what reminds us

who we are—a people who want

to thrive, to live in peace,

a people who are kind to each other

not because we have earned it, but

because kindness is in our nature.

I want to vote for that little girl,

want to help create the just world she rises in.

I want to help someone else

back away from the edge,

just a bit, just a bit, another bit.

 

 

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Shabbat

for Peter and Lisa

 

 

We covered our eyes with our hands

and repeated the sacred words that Peter said,

blessing the pomegranate juice, blessing

 

the challah bread. And when we were done

with the prayer, we removed our hands

from our eyes and the candlelit world

 

was surprisingly bright. Such a simple faith,

kindness. The willingness to invite another in,

to make them bread, to offer them soup,

 

to say to the other, Here. Feast. Rest. To share

ancient stories and offer new wisdom.

To pass the braided bread, hand to hand,

 

and eat it together. To listen to each other

until the candles had burned through all their wax.

To continue to listen after the light goes out.

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Someone has crocheted a half dozen blankets—

one dark purple, another camo green, another

with stripes in every possible color.

There are half a dozen quilts with bright squares.

And someone has knit a dozen hats—

and a basket on the shelf overflows with handmade scarves.

 

My friend chooses a pink cotton pillow

that someone has sewn in the shape of a heart

and a long creamy scarf, impossibly soft.

She would rather be anywhere but here,

but look at that smile as she dons the scarf,

as if its stitches are keeping her from falling away.

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If you could use some good news, find your way to DOOGOOD Stories, an international site hosted in Finland, sharing stories of random acts of kindness around the world and their ripple effects.

If you scroll around, you’ll find where I talk about one of my mentors, Art Goodtimes, and how a simple and personal interaction 25 years ago changed everything about how I meet the world, and how that random act of kindness is one of the seeds that made this site and the daily poems happen.

Check it out!

 

IMG_0708

 

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And out of the manila envelope

came a new white hand towel

hand embroidered with colorful flowers,

each one a bright celebration

of what a small amount of thread

and a steady hand can do.

Another cloth, this one edged

in a red and white lace crochet,

seemed proof that framing changes everything.

A photo of two women laughing.

A pink ribbon holding it all together.

A pink sticky note, that read

in a neat, old-fashioned script:

To Rosemerry, from Secret Agents.

There are days I can hardly

believe my good fortune—

just when the headlines

are their worst, a stranger

will reach out with a wild

and tender kindness that frames

the moment with joy,

reminding me that I, too,

might stitch thoughtfulness

and beauty into everything I do,

then share it with the world.

 

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inspired by Gnossienne 2, by Erik Satie

 

 

the way morning sun

touches the sunflower leaf—

you may say that’s not kindness,

it’s just how it is. exactly.

let me love like that

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The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

—Iyanla Vanzant

 

 

It’s violent, pulling the spinach

up by the roots. Rationalize

it has bolted. Rationalize

some plants will never thrive.

Rationalize that all things

have a cycle.

Despite the rational mind,

there is the actual ripping out

of the roots, the plucking

of the leaves, the tossing

of the stems.

 

But it’s just a vegetable,

you tell yourself.

It’s not a metaphor.

 

It gets harder to believe that.

At some point, Perhaps you see

there is nothing in the world,

not one thing, in which

you can’t find a shard of yourself.

Everything, everything is charged with meaning.

 

But clearing out the spinach

is a job that must be done.

So you learn to invest kindness

into your touch.

You sing as you do it,

and you say simple words:

Thank you, thank you.

 

You will make a lovely

bright green soup tonight.

In some rows, you transplant flowers

in the space left behind.

In some rows, you do nothing

and notice how beautiful it can be, absence.

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I wonder who else today

in Concourse A

is traveling to see their mom

in the hospital, who else

has a parent with a surgery

gone wrong? Who else

could use some tenderness—

perhaps that woman in green

on the transporter? Or maybe

the young mother chasing her child

on the moving walkway? Or

the middle-aged man deliberating

over snacks? Today, it seems

so obvious that all of us

need some tenderness—

regardless our story.

And so when the man

in 31 C offers to lift my suitcase

and fit it somehow

into the overhead bin,

I almost weep with relief,

but instead I smile and say

Thank you, yes, I need help.

All day, I think of how

one small generosity changes

the landscape of the heart.

All day, I am met with chances

to be grateful, to be kind.

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Mom, she said, is it true? And it wasn’t

that I’d tried to keep the truth from her,

it just never came into conversation,

old horses are sometimes used for glue.

 

Yes, I said, wishing I could soften the message. It’s true.

She knew its truth already, but don’t we all

sometimes long to be wrong? New tears dammed

in her eyes before they fell. Is that really

 

the world I belong to? she rued, then buried

her face in the couch. Two hours later,

I thought her same thought as I read the news:

Anti-Semitism. Bribery. Child sexual abuse.

 

I wanted to hear the stories weren’t true.

Oh world, so broken, still, unglued, I choose you.

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