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 mail letters and
purchase 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 every where
like a shadow or a friend.

–Naomi Shihab Nye, from The Words Under the Words

And you may want to listen to the author read her own poem and you can click below.

Naomi Shihab Nye reading her poem “Kindness”

Published by marciedoll

I have enjoyed working for over 20 years in the education and publishing spaces creating accessible learning environments for all students. My teaching experiences led me into supporting schools in need of improvement and creating and delivering professional development to teachers and leaders. And then I moved into selling educational materials, programs, technology, and services. Most recently, I have been developing content for innovative learning programs in K-12 and museum spaces. For the past 17 years serving on the board of the Collegiate Corporation, I have led initiatives in women's leadership, stewardship, development, virtual strategy, and educational programs for youth and families. Outside of the learning and non-profit spaces, I enjoy blogging about faith and inspiring women. I have a passion for travel, where you might find me exploring national parks, museums, and finding the best local restaurant to eat. I capture my adventures digitally with my camera. My photography has appeared in exhibitions throughout Europe and Australia in 2019 and 2020, on television in the United States, and was chosen from over 100,000 entries to appear in a well-known photography magazine.

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