Wounded Humans. Deep Kindness.
In the face of world leaders playing with nuclear threats as if they were on their Xbox, or Rep. Tom Marino’s role in the opioid crisis…
Or learning of the death of investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia of Malta, who did her best to oust corruption…
Or the tidal wave created by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein…
Or how even Canada, a government with the reputation for taking care of the people, seems to be going after the little guy, the working class citizen.
Get this. Canada, debt-burdened and scraping for revenue, recently proposed taxing free meals eaten in restaurants by servers and staff, as well as taxing the discounted portion of clothing purchased in the store by employees.
This produced citizen outrage, though, thanks to social media, and Canadian officials eventually backed off. But not on other high-impact items, like (heavily) taxing a family farm passed to the children.
Maybe each week’s news is simply a new episode of “Humans Behaving Badly.”
When Eric didn’t understand human behavior, he used to shake his head and say “People are funny people…” which, for him, helped take the edge off what seemed to be odd choices or any hope of understanding.
What might help ease things?
Maybe a wise person should stand and speak, one who calms the waters of anyone’s soul, no matter the trouble underfoot.
How about Naomi?
I think so.
It’s quite possible that one good poet could save us all from getting under winter covers and sleeping until spring.
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