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“And remember, helping is the sunny side of control.” ~Anne Lamott

Meeting Kindness in the Depths of Sorrow.

January 25, 2018

Our Unity’s La Bendición project has challenged me to reflect on the ways that my life has been changed and transformed by experiences I have had with Guatemala. It started with getting to know Mayan refugees from there. Hearing their stories.  Heartbreaking, devastating stories.


Some said that my government was complicit in what was going on. Some said that my church was trying to help; people were working underground, risking prison.


I wanted to know more. This led me to take a 3-month journey into the heart of Guatemala in 1987. It was one of the defining experiences of my life.


There are themes that come up in our lives. Sometimes they seem to disappear for a while—only to return in some unexpected way and time. Synchronicity reminds us that we are on a pilgrimage. Sometimes I feel like we have pilgrimages within The Pilgrimage.


One of the most powerful poems I know is “Kindness,” by Naomi Shihab Nye. It speaks deeply to my soul. It resonates with every cell of my being.


Nye’s poem speaks to me of a pilgrimage to Kindness. Guatemalan Mayans have been a big part of my own Kindness journey. On Sunday I want to share some of that story.


In deep gratitude,



Excerpts from Naomi Nye’s poem:

“Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth….


“Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you…


“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 to mail letters and
purchase bread,
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 every where
like a shadow or a friend.”






Peggy Christiansen is the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Fort Collins. She has over 25 years of ministry experience working with diverse populations, a M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a special interest in helping people find and/or develop their unique spiritual paths. Listen to podcasts of her Sunday talks.