Sunday 5 January 2020

Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris

I came across this wonderful piece by Danusha Laméris (Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California).

Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”

I wrote recently about my Word of the Year: Belief and the things that have gone with it – acceptance, confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.  I got to thinking what are all of these things for? To earn more, to have prestige or recognition, to feel better than others.  None of these are important to me and none of these will help me in the next world. So belief and confidence not in themselves but as a means to something else – to serve. To help others. Small kindnesses every day and at every opportunity that presents itself to us insh’Allah.

So many small kindnesses have made a difference in my life and left a lasting impact.  Perhaps some small kindness of mine will benefit someone else insh’Allah.

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