Only Kindness Makes Sense

Porter’s Weekly Reflection 6-14-17

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.

… Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore

Naomi Shihab Nye

Yesterday I listened to Attorney General Sessions’ testimony and I watched as much commentary as I could stand.  I felt myself drifting towards a deep sadness about our country.  There is such an opportunity to do good and to be good and our world is in such hurt and need, yet our leaders are in this strange dance that insures that little productive will be accomplished. 

This morning I felt myself entering the fray of finding someone to blame so I could feel morally superior and somehow distance myself from any culpability.  “Those people in Washington or Raleigh are at fault,” I felt myself wanting to say.

Then I heard the news about the shooting in Washington as Senators and Representatives were practicing for a charity softball game.  Of course, I pray for all those harmed and of course this will renew our debate about guns—which needs to be renewed---but hearing the Senators and Representatives interviewed opened my heart and widened my perspective.

On the field after the shooting, they didn’t care about their positions or their political persona. They were worried about their friends who were wounded.  The language they used was the language of human concern.  When they were interviewed there was no political angle; there was no name calling; there was no position paper.  It was just “I pray everyone is going to be all right.”

Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” ends with this line: “She would've been a good woman…if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”   When our lives get disrupted, we remember what matters and what doesn’t.  Those elected officials on the baseball field were only thinking about their brothers and sisters—not votes or bills or hearings. 

Perhaps if we connect with the fragility of life more often, we might enter the region of kindness more frequently and the world would be such a better place.