Apr 272010


I read a poem the other night that I know is True.

When you were going through the divorce, I spent so many nights furious at God. I quit Him lots of times, Sister. While you were crying yourself to sleep and repeating,“Not my will, but Yours,” I was in bed fiercely whispering, “You can’t help us. You are not helping us. I’m done with you. How could you let this happen to someone so Golden?”

And it just never stopped with all the money, and the waiting, and the constant hurting. It was like suffocating. Every time I looked at your beautiful face and saw how strong and faithful you were trying to be, I was silently cursing. I decided lots of times: You’re not real. Obviously, you’re not real. I must be a damn idiot.

But I think I still believed He was real. Otherwise…who was I talking to?

I just wanted to hurt Him, because He was allowing you to hurt. I felt like He didn’t deserve your devotion. And I wanted Him to understand that while I loved Him, I didn’t love Him more than I love you. If asked to take sides, I wanted Him to know who I’d stand behind. Not that it mattered anymore. What good was my faith if it didn’t protect my Sister, for Christ’s sake?

Please, resist pointing out how ridiculous and wrong the preceding paragraphs are. God, Sister, and I, we understand. We forgive me.

Also, Sister, Him isn’t right. Is there a word that means Him and Her? God is a Him and a Her. I need a word for that.

So I read this poem last week, Sister. And I know it’s True. I’ve read it maybe thirty times more to make sure it’s True. It is. I keep crying about it, so I know it’s True.

Here it is, Sister. This poem is for you. It was all a gift, Sister.

Even now, your life in Africa. It’s a gift from Him to you, not from you to them. God loves us, Sister.

He knows, He always knew, how Golden you are.


KINDNESS  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 it till your voice

catches the thread of sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.


Then it is only kindness that makes any 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 to say


It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Apr 262010

If you get hungry for anything other than ice cream in my new town, you’re gonna have to drive for a while. The nearest grocery store is miles and miles and then more miles away. I thought this would be a drawback of living here, but so far it hasn’t been. When everything’s inconvenient, a girl’s To Do list shortens itself dramatically. Mine looks like this these days:

1.Feed children.

2.Be kind.

3.Write something down.

4. Grow out bangs.

I’m sure that over time, other things will try to sneak themselves back on to my list. But I’m going to interview those things very, very thoroughly before I give them permission to come aboard.

The grocery store is about twenty miles and three stop lights away, and in between here and there are farms. Wide open green space after wide open green space. The fields are like water with their calming effect. They remind me that space and emptiness are needed to grow something new. And that all we really have to do in this life is plant some seeds and keep them watered, and God will take care of the rest.

The first time we drove by the farms, Tish looked out the window and said, “Mommy, the soccer fields here are HUGE!” Usually, I’d let that go, because I have a lot of kids and learned a long time ago that I can’t explain everything. You know how important energy conservation is to me. But I was having a good day so I said, “Actually, Tish, those are the fields where the farmers grow our crops.”

I felt proud of myself. I decided that was probably quite enough homeschooling for one day.

A few days later, as we were driving by the farms again, Tish said proudly, “Amma. Look at those fields. That’s where the farmers grow our Crocs!”

Close enough, I thought.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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