So intensely do I wish to escape this season of sorrow, be finished with grief, close it up in a box and take it to the attic, then climb down the rickety steps to a happy home and forget all about it.
There are lessons right here in the thick of the muck that I am meant to pluck, then plant with finality in my being, but the wading through, plucking, planting, wading, plucking, planting is slow-going and tiresome and I want to run away. But somehow I know in my depths that the world needs me to move at this pace and that the heavens won’t allow much else anyhow. To befriend the waiting–I cannot fathom a me capable of such patience. I am groping ahead to be known, to be heard, to be loved . . . but aren’t we all?
I think in the end, the inevitable isolation and unbearable loneliness of grief teaches us how alike we all are, how much love is there already, but you cannot, will not learn this fast or painlessly, which sucks, and that is why I rage against this slowness even as I suspect it is the one thing most needed.
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a heated 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 everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.