Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Epiphany on Epiphany

So I saw this bumper sticker on a car that said, “Mean People Suck!”

I nodded with my blinker on.
And on this January the sixth, this day of Epiphany,
When umpteen wise men went home a different way,
So too did I.
(it doesn’t say anywhere there were only three of them)
But they were wise,
And Jewel was on
A composite Christmas CD from Jerry
My Virginian brother-in-law,
And she sang about how
In the end, only
Kindness matters.
(and I haven’t listened to Jewel in such a long time).

And it’s my mom’s birthday today.
She would have been 88,
My favorite number.
She (and all who knew her) would have agreed with Jewel
That in the end
Only kindness mattered.

So I bought a mess of Chinese take-out
Because it’s my mom’s birthday
And she loved Chinese food.
Lamb stew with bean curd
Beef broccoli with crispy noodle
Bitter melon with pork
Fried rice
Cold ginger chicken with a sauce that sings.

And the lady who has owned Pauoa Chop Suey
Since forever
Made me smile my forty dollars away
Because as always, she was kind
(she gives lollipops while we wait).

And in the end
It’s very true
That only kindness matters.


  1. I love reading your blog Deb, but c'mon, "Only Kindness Matters"??? I don't believe I've seen anything quite so shallow from you in the several months I've been enjoying your musings. Not only would I say that there are many things that matter as much as kindness, but several that matter more. If when I am gone, the first thing people think to say about me is that I was kind, I will consider my life a failure. That's not to say that I think it's acceptable to be consistently unkind, but in a list with such attributes as honest, courageous, righteous, or faithful, I don't think "kind" really stands out. Do you?

  2. Not sure who you are, but I think you're being too literal. BUT...since you've made your statement, I'll make mine.

    Kindness is one of the most obvious byproducts of love. Yes, honesty, courage, faithfulness, and a bunch of other attributes are out there, but none of these in my opinion matter as much TO ME personally as kindness does.

    Love is patient, love is's God's kindness that leads us to repentance...

    Maybe to you, it's shallow. Or maybe you need to rethink the definition of kindness and the outcome that it creates...


  3. "Be ye kind" is inscribed on a water glass from my grandmother. I'd be proud to be remembered first as kind. I can't think of something better... generous, loving? sure, but famous, rich, powerful? Not a chance. Creative, strong, faithful, honest, righteous, courageous? all good, but no cigar, as the saying goes. Kindness first, kindness is more difficult, kindness is deep, kindness, yes, kindness first.

  4. Thank you, Jan. For the record, I'd like a headstone that reads, "Kindness: A+"

  5. I love the idea that only kindness matters--love the poem, love Jan's response. This particular entry reminds me of Carver-- particularly his story ( there are two versions of it) "A Small, Good Thing."There's another one called "So Much Water Close to Home," where a husband's choice to not act kindly towards a girl he finds dead in a stream causes his wife to have an epiphany about his character.

    I love the concept of epiphany-- I used to theme my creative writing courses around it-- and I love how situation of the poem is grounded in the sensual.

    Thank you for sharing this moment, Deb!