Sherman Alexie’s “Hymn”

I will sing for people who might not sing for me.
I will sing for people who are not my family.

I will sing honor songs for the unfamiliar and new.
I will visit a different church and pray in a different pew.

I will silently sit and carefully listen to new stories
About other people’s tragedies and glories.

I will not assume my pain and joy are better.
I will not claim my people invented gravity or weather.

And, oh, I know I will still feel my rage and rage and rage
But I won’t act like I’m the only person onstage.

I am one more citizen marching against hatred.
Alone, we are defenseless. Collected, we are sacred.

Excerpted from “Hymn” by Sherman Alexie.

Please go read the whole poem.1

  1. Update. According to NPR, Sherman Alexie “issued a statement admitting he ‘has harmed’ others, after rumors and allegations began to circulate about sexual harassment.” I don’t know how we deal with situations like this. We can’t ignore, yet do we wipe their work from the public space? Maybe. At least we provide an asterisk, a footnote. Maybe you don’t go read the whole poem. At least now, it’s your choice. 

Us vs. Them

They are different—
        national origins,
—To be feared.

We are different—
        national origins,
—To be loved.

A shift in pronoun makes all the difference — changing perspective, converting the other to us. Instead of they being someone to be judged and feared, we are to be accepted and loved.

Eleanor Roosevelt on maturity

A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.

Eleanor Roosevelt

If I knew that today would be the last time…

If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you,
I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul.

If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door,
I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more.

If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice,
I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again.

If I knew this is the last time I see you,
I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.

Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Hat tip: Sherilee. Great find!