Last week, our town celebrated Holy Week.
On Good Friday, the local parish recreated the Way of the Cross, marking out fourteen moments in which to remember the false arrest, the torture, and the murder of a poor fellow who spoke the truth to powerful people.
Several hundred people followed an actor playing Jesus of Nazareth. At our corner, we were reminded over loudspeakers and the (fake) lashings of a whip that Jesus fell as he made his way to Calvary.
A week later, Alabama and other parts of the south were scourged, in their time, by tornados. A panel truck was soon set up in a Brownsville parking lot, and a long line of people could be seen bringing food items, water, and clothing.
Many of those who visit us marvel at the generosity of the people of our region (who are, nearly without exception, poor).
I am, though, reminded of the wisdom caught by Naomi Shihab Nye, a south Texas poet, who notes,
Before you know kindness, as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing…
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day…
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere.”