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A place in hell

We need to help each other. As Madeleine Albright, this country’s first female secretary of state, once said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

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The heart of empathy

What is empathy? Christopher Myers, in his introduction for Home Is Not a Country, offers one answer. “It seems to me,” he says, “that this knowledge—that you could have just as easily been any one of a hundred other people—is at the heart of empathy. It’s the realization that every person you meet, or see […]

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Just be “nice”

I never have liked the word “nice.” Somehow, it always seems a bit trite, but the word is packed with a lot of information. That’s why I like this quote by anonymous. “Treat everyone with kindness, even those who are rude to you, not because they are nice but because you are.” –Joy

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Remember kindness

I sometimes have to remind myself that I can be kind to everyone. “Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not,” Henry James once said. –Joy

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Endless pools of unknowability

In her book Oh, William!, Elizabeth Strout writes about William and Lucy, who used to be married to each other. An NPR interviewer commented, “Lucy and William knew each other very well, but they didn’t know each other as well as they thought they did. “Has you ever experienced this?” “Yes, I have,” Strout answered, […]

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We are mysteries

In her book Oh, William!, Elizabeth Strout writes about William and Lucy—and about knowing and not knowing—other people and ourselves, too. At the end of the book, Strout concludes: But when I think Oh William!, don’t I mean Oh Lucy! too. Don’t I mean Oh Everyone, O dear Everybody in this whole wide world, we […]

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Count your blessings

A friend died. Another friend has to wait to pick up a new prescription until she gets a check next week. And a third friend has COVID and is afraid he will give the virus to his spouse. I am so tired of this pandemic, but I am counting my blessings. My issues are very […]

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Speak to strangers

Carme, a character in Isabel Allende’s book A Long Petal of the Sea, “resolved to speak to strangers, since she had discovered that people like to talk, and it only took a couple of questions to make friends and find out lots of things.” What’s important about this reminder from Carme? Ask questions! And, listen.

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Greta’s friends

In an interview with The Guardian, Greta Thonberg, the climate activist, says that she didn’t have very many friends when she began protesting. She explained that she was “an oversensitive child with autism.” Today, being part of the climate movement community has made her very happy, Thonberg adds. “I really see the value of friendship. […]

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Good medicine

I was feeling—as my mother would say—down in the dumps. The delta variant. The new abortion law in Texas—and the new Texas voting laws and gun laws. And, my husband’s ill health. However, I found good medicine. I talked to two good friends on the phone, and then I had lunch the next day with […]

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