True North

The news is not all bleak.

I know a man who
every morning prays
for opportunities to serve.
Could be as simple as a smile.  Lending an ear.  Yielding in traffic.

It seems he’s not the only one.

Did you hear?

About the kindergarten teacher who gave
her kidney to her student’s dad
so he could see his little boy grow up

Or the couple
who tipped their waiter—
whose car lightning had destroyed—
five grand
to go and get another

Or the Hummer hero
who pulled in front of a speeding sports car
cell phone distracted
to save a group of children in the crosswalk.
Mettle on metal.
No one was injured.

True story.  I could go on.  About the

eight-year old
who gave his life savings—
three hundred dollars—
to neighbors
whose trailer had burned

and the panhandler who saw
a man realize he unwittingly
dropped his wedding ring and change
into a street musician’s case.
She tracked the saxophonist
then waited for the man
three weeks
till he again walked by.
The ring found its groom
the circle of love reunited.

Do you know

the 13-year old
beard barely sprouting
who donated his bar mitzvah gifts of thirteen thousand
to heal the facial wounds of veterans?
Perhaps he could write the book
on becoming a man.

Or the Secret Santa
who handed C-notes
to those severely slammed by Sandy—
to the tune of
one hundred grand?
We may never know his name.

Random?

“I didn’t think they made people like that anymore.”

They do.  They’re here.

They’re everywhere.

Not superheroes.
The teacher next door
the cop on the corner
children who haven’t (yet) learned
that they don’t have time
to care.

It’s you and me.  Or rather
Us.
Some grateful.
Some fallen from grace.
Or so we think.

It’s here.

Not fantasy.  Nor another planet.

And now.

It could be Christmas.  Or August 17th.

The ice is melting everywhere
When you give a man boots in New York
Hearts are warmed in Shanghai.

We may never know
how
words or deeds
we shared
will land
or when

All we know is thank you.

Somewhere, somehow
spaceship earth has fallen off
course and now
careening through the blackness
I wonder
Are we lost?

I don’t think so.  Not yet.

But by what compass can we
steer her back?

It doesn’t take
a genius
an act of Congress

or even an act of God

to hold the door
and help your neighbor
with her groceries

To smile and relinquish
being right
even if you are

To cherish
peace
more than power

Nothing matters
save this.
Must we lose everything
to remember?

The teacher locked in the bathroom with her class
Thinking they’re on their last breath
together
tells them
over and over and over
I love you
You are so loved
You are so loved
I love you
Because if this is it,
that’s the last thing she wants them to hear

Where did she go to school?

Who steps out and takes a bullet
or twenty
Mothers of the universe
have no time for debates
when they’re protecting the herd.

No, we are not yet lost.

We may be adrift
but even as waves
give rise to tortuous tempests

a teen puts a note in a bottle
and sends it sailing into the surf
wishing great joy
to whomever finds it
And five years later,
they do.

Surprise a friend.  Pay someone’s way.  Stop for a stranger.
Tell your kids you love them
And please
Please

hold them close.

When the world is shattered –

kindness.

It may be our only hope.

And our only way home.

Susan Drouilhet