Friday, April 5, 2013

we must contribute joy

“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Yesterday, every second person was posting this on Facebook which I thought was wonderful and really lovely. That so many people are taken by this, and truly moved by it, too. And how wonderful to be remembering someone in this way, that he left this. 

I've posted this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye before, but thought it might be good to read in the context of the Ebert quotation.


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 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.

Today was to have been a writing day, but the opportunity came up to take my mom for an early lunch. (It's her bday next week). And then I'm going to work to fill in for someone who's ill.

When I took the photos of ice cream, I think I had all sorts of things to say about them, but they've since escaped me. So. Random ice cream. For you.


  1. This is a lovely post. A good reminder. Thanks.

  2. This is beautiful and true. xoxo

  3. I visited and am going off all the more enlightened..... yet again.....thanks Shawna!!

  4. breathtakingly beautiful -- your sharing these words on kindness
    ... and of course, the ice cream ... you know, it really fits if you think about it. It really does. I'm leaving with a contented heart. Funny how everyone goes off feeling a certain way, depending upon how we relate to the words and images.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...