For a while now I have been yearning to hear mention of the Common Good in the media and on the lips of everyday people. Today, it seems, the Common good is often equated with political correctness in America and is scorned as a weak liberal conspiracy to rob people of their rights. But, plain and simple, it is just kindness. May we begin a movement of kindness right now, today, within our circles of influence. **
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.
Naomi Shihab Nye
You can listen to Naomi read her poem here
You can hear the story behind Naomi’s poem here.
**Find an excellent explanation of a circle of influence here.
Photo Credit: HUFF POST.COM