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Let kindness be your shadow

I know. This is taking such a long time...this Covid-19. Summer's almost over but what kind of summer was it? School is starting soon and what the heck is that going to be like? Work? How is that going? And then, in just 10 weeks, a national election. THE national election. This is so hard. We're all trying so hard to be *normal.* But, this is NOT normal.

But it is, in a way; in the way that living is normal. Coping is normal. Hoping is normal. Being alive is a normal state even when everything around you feels chaotic or, at least, uncertain.

Here, for you, a poem from Naomi Shihab Nye -- called Kindness -- that may give you some comfort as you navigate the constantly changing *normal* world.

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 everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.

Let kindness be your shadow. We are all in this together. Let kindness be your friend. We are all trying to cope. Let kindness, amid all the chaos, find you. It is the only thing that makes sense.

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