03/17/2014 06:54 pm ET Updated May 17, 2014

Out of the Way

Kindness and suffering are wordless teachers, ready to bend us and soften us until we accept that we are here; that, try as we will, we can't build our way out of existence or dream our way out of being human. Once opened in this way, we come to realize that the only way out is to love being here.

Out of the Way

Kindness bends us, the way
the strike of a bell bends the
smallest leaves.

Suffering softens us, the way the
beak of a dark bird pokes the water
of the heart, leaving a ripple
that shimmers through us.

Kindness and suffering will bring us
to a clearness that everyone knows as
home, once what is unnecessary is
loved or pained out of the way.

A Question to Walk With: Describe one way you have been bent by kindness and one way you have been softened by suffering. How have these experiences shaped you?

For more poetry for the soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.