little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace

Archive for the tag “humanity”

Extraordinary Ordinary

Some of my favorite moments in life come dressed in the most ordinary clothes.

These days, while there are plenty of ordinary moments out there, we so often miss them because we are distracted by our phones, our schedules, and our own mess of busyness (“busy-mess”?!), caught up in the blurry speed of modern life.

Last week, I read a blog post entitled “Cough drops and kindness” that features a simple story of an ordinary interaction between people in a line at the post office. One of those people happens to be my magnificent mama Martha, and the other, the writer of this blog, a stranger, who takes the time to look up and who chooses to engage in an ordinary moment. The result? Simple and surprising joy.

Read this story once, twice, thrice, infinite times; may it serve as a reminder that we do indeed have choices — to slow down, to take a breath, to look up, and to smell not just the roses, but the beauty of humanity around us.

Our world feels so heavy with loss and tragedy right now; may we challenge ourselves to pay attention and look for the extraordinary in the ordinary and lift each other up a little bit more. There is beauty and grace to behold — everywhere and every day; it just may not look like what we had in mind. And it may be right in front of us.

Thanks be to God.




This. This poem. To heal wounds. To hold hands.

For hope. For humanity. For today and each day that may come.



Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.


Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.


Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,

only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say

It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.


From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems.

Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye.


Peace and kindness to you, dear reader, whoever and wherever you are.

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