By Jo Strausz Rosen
In his book, The Path to Kindness, James Crews, also editor of How to Love the World, collected some very special poems of connection and joy. In the forward he wrote, “Poems are a path to connection. Simple gestures of kindness can make our day, open our hearts, change our minds, and brighten our world-especially in times of uncertainty.”
Don’t you agree that when we allow kindness from others to wash over us, we then want to share kindness in return. I hunt for kindness. I seek it out in books, music, conversations, and interactions with strangers, with my family, with my husband, with my friends. When I forget to seek kindness, when I forget to pause to allow kindness from others, if I am too wrapped up in my own life to notice… I feel anxious and sorrowful.
One simple gesture, letting another car turn in from a side street – is my unspoken gift on the road. I don’t mind if people forget to wave in appreciation. This is their path. Mine is to offer them the moment with a smile and a wave that says, “You’re welcome.”
You – our greater Detroit community members illustrate kindness every time you contribute to Jewish Senior Life. Donations provide food subsidies, supportive programs, and activities. Volunteering your time lets our residents know you care so much. We are so grateful for you.
Let’s take time to celebrate the small moments of kindness between us. If we continue to get aggravated by the aggressive drivers who hurry to pass us or those who use their horns to signal some grievance, we are missing the chance to seek kindness. Why do those gestures of anger remain in our psyches? Let’s instead dwell in the practice of kindness and capture gentle moments of connection. We need these more. Don’t you agree?
by Danusha Lameris
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.”