little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace

Archive for the tag “sorrow”

Kindness

 

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

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

 

Kindness

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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40 years…

Today, my dear parents celebrate 40 years of marriage.

40. years.

Hmmm…

All thanks be to God.

It is miraculous to say, to write, to ponder — in so many ways, but especially as the years they have seen together — the years that have witnessed their growth side by side — have been beautiful and anything but easy.

In honor of the joy and sorrow that have left marks on their 40 incredible years and that do the very same in each of our lives, I will post this powerful excerpt from Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet. It is aptly titled “On Joy and Sorrow”:

“Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorry,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.”

 

Thanks be to God for the life of my parents,

their journey together,

and for the sorrow

and joy

that give meaning

to our paths —

the fullness of life.

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