Oct 5, 2020

Every pain, every truth.

If I just say yes

I will have it all.

All the joy, all the sorrow,

Every pain, every truth.

And if I say yes

Then I am in for good.

No one gets just the happy

And no one bears all the weight.

Life is not a menu,

You're in or you're out.

And I say yes.


May I be thankful for the kindness that comes to me,

And then return that kindness to the world tenfold,

And then tenfold again.


Orange sun, pale, in a gray sky.

Davis, California, in the big valley.

The biting odor of burning wood.

There is a forest fire about 100 miles away,

North by east.

Paradise, California, in the Sierra foothills.

A wind out of the north

Has brought the smoke here.

My wife is coughing, many people

On the streets are wearing breathing masks.

Several people dead in the fire, so far,

Some more people are missing.

And nearly 7 thousand buildings lost.

Homes, schools, businesses.

“Did you see the sunset?”

A friend wants to know.

“An orange sun, pale, in a gray sky.

If the fire keeps up I’ll get some pictures tomorrow.”

I quickly decide against chastising him;

What’s the point? He means no harm.

I see the homeless and the dead,

He sees a unique sunset.

Both are there, from a fire 100 miles away.

Settling down in a quiet room, alone,

I begin the Loving Kindness prayer.


With compassion in one hand

And kindness in the other, let me work.


"Time and again, racist ideas have not been cooked up from the boiling pot of ignorance and hate. Time and again, powerful and brilliant men and women have produced racist ideas in order to justify the racist policies of their era, in order to redirect the blame for their era’s racial disparities away from those policies and onto Black people."
-Ibram X. Kendi

"I can’t make people not afraid of black people. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t explain what’s happening in your head. But maybe if I show up every day as a human, a good human, doing wonderful things, loving my family, loving your kids, taking care of things that I care about—maybe, just maybe that work will pick away at the scabs of your discrimination. Maybe that slowly will unravel it. That’s all we have, because we can’t do it for them, because they’re broken. Their brokenness in how they see us is a reflection of this brokenness. And you can’t fix that. All you can do is the work."
-Michelle Obama

"It was the last day of school, and I was walking with my dad, preparing to leave. Suddenly, he paused, looked at me intently and said, "Son, you're a black male, and that's two strikes against you." To the general public, anything that I did would be perceived as malicious and deserving of severe punishment and I had to govern myself accordingly. I was seven years old."

-Robert Stephens

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