Friday, December 28, 2012

How many acts of kindness?

NBC reporter Ann Curry’s comments on the violence in Newtown, Connecticut touched a horror-stricken world grieving the loss of so many lives.  She asked, “What if we all committed to doing 26 acts of kindness?” in remembrance of the 20 children and six adults who were killed that day.

I ask, “What if we did 28 acts of kindness?” in remembrance of all who died that day in Newtown?  I believe that we are all connected, that the act of one is my own act, the joy and the sorrow is in my heart, too.   In these sad days as the world grieves with the families of those who have lost loved ones, my challenge is not only to stand at the door of compassion, but to walk through it. 

Call Me By My True Names

Don't say that I will depart tomorrow –
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone. 

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death 
of all that is alive. 

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his "debt of blood" to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
the door of compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh
(From Guest Blogger Ellen Swan)

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