A New Variant
by Anne Evans
They say a new variant has been detected.
Have you heard about it?
Wildly contagious, it is believed
to infect the mind’s eye.
They say it jams the brain
and may weaken your old opinions.
The machine of your mind
may stop chattering and start to hum.
They say the variant has a side effect—
compassion. Many report tearfulness, a tender heart,
empathy for the stranger with 20 items in the quick check line
or the guy following too close in traffic.
They say it will loosen your grip on your judgments
and create space for curiosity. In fact,
you might be rendered mute by all you do not know.
And, for sure, your immunity to wonder will be broken down.
This variant, they say, will make you dizzy, distract you
with the possibilities for simple kindness. You could
lose your place in line, even forget why you’re waiting,
angry and afraid, in the first place.
Invitation for Writing & Reflection: Think back to a time when you were able to respond to a difficult situation with “simple kindness” and compassion. What unlocked your openness in that moment and allowed you to investigate what you were feeling with more curiosity?