May 26 2010



Naomi read this tonight, and I got to tell her in person that it was this poem that gave me the handle I needed to hold the grief from the Holocaust of AIDS. I got to hug her and say thank you for stringing these words together so I could find them, and learn how to be okay. No it wasn’t good, and no it didn’t make me a better person and no I am not grateful for it, but I am okay now. Thank you again Naomi


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: Selected Poems

May 20 2010



Today I finished my last final, and submitted it. I am done with my undergraduate degree. It’s a bittersweet sort of thing. Which of course makes me remember that all transitions, for the most part, are bittersweet.

I have worked hard, and kept going when I didn’t want to, and now I am done. I begin a year long focus on my monastic training which I have wanted to do for a long time. I am officially training to be a priest. I will miss my friends, and hanging out in the lounge, and sharing ideas, and defending my ideas, and changing my mind, and laughing for no good reason.

Bittersweet. Scary. Exhilarating. Joyful. Proud. Amazed. Grateful. Sad. Grief. Loss.

Is this different than any other life? I am pretty sure it’s not.