Kindness

Foreigner, come.
Enter my house.
My door has been tightly closed in these times.
Plagues are about,
and there is much pain to fear.

You have been there, outside,
for a thousand and more days now.
I catch you watching me through the windows.
Patient, attentive, and curious.

Yet I keep out anyone new.
Those I don’t know well enough,
to trust,
to rely upon,
to admit to my shelter
against the pain.


Today, though, something changed.
Today, my fears were upended
for one brisk moment,
worn down,
by a curiosity
of my own.

I suppose I could not hold back the smile on seeing you.
How, after all, could you wait so long?
so patiently?
so interested?
so willing?
yet so peacefully un-insistent?

What in this world does that?

I can see now,
you have been the friend all this time
who came knocking
because of the grave circumstances.

And all the while, I closed my door to your goodness,
I guarded myself against the unfamiliar.
How foolish to keep out
the best friend I will ever know.

You bring no danger.
You are generous and ask for nothing.
You are gentle, spirited, and light-hearted.
Your touch is so delicate
it breaks hearts open
to God.

Come then, friend,
enter my home.
Become the warm tea I will drink
and the comfort we discover as
– in meeting –
we arrive at our true purpose together.

After all, we were made for each other
you and I,

pain

and the kindness that waits for it.

I made my soul familiar — with her extremity —
That at the last, it should not be a novel Agony —
But she, and Death, acquainted —
Meet tranquilly, as friends —
Salute, and pass, without a Hint —
And there, the Matter ends —

– Emily Dickenson

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