The Hurricane of Kindness

Porter’s Weekly Reflection 8-30-17



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….

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.


Hurricane Harvey has quieted the noise from Washington. In the midst of such tragedy and heartache and loss, there just isn’t any room for posturing or political maneuvers or backroom deals. It’s as if the political world stopped turning in face of loss but also in the face of compassion.  There is so much sorrow but also so much kindness.  We see those pictures and how can our hearts not open?

I think it’s why at the cross, Jesus makes a new family. He tells his mother that the disciple John is now is son and he tells John that Mary is now his mother. The old blood lines don’t define us anymore. It’s why you see a new sense of family being made in the Astrodome and in rescue boats and in helicopters.

Of course, we’ll forget but not completely.  Because goodness, kindness, love are part of our DNA. We just forget them and then something happens and we remember.   There are moments during this storm that we have glimpsed heaven even in the midst of sorrow and loss. I pray that glimpse stays in our memories and in our hearts. May it be a way for God’s new family to reappear on the far side of the cross because if it does, we as a country might remember we don’t just care for one another when a hurricane comes to our shores, but always—every day.  Because the truth is, there’s always a storm somewhere.