5 & 6 DFABW – Humility and Empathy – Slice of Life

6 September 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Lately I’m working with my sister every day. We are making some changes to our cabin in the desert. A pass-through window into the kitchen with a breakfast bar, a tile floor and, in process right now: a new pantry and cabinet to extend our kitchen. It has been so interesting to work so closely with her in brand new areas. My sister is a builder, and I’m enjoying learning so much from her, as her assistant. Of course, my husband is part of the process too. Tools have always been his department, but now I’m learning the names of all of them and even how to use power tools–a variety of saws, belt sander, and drill.

My husband and I are both finding and exercising new strengths in this adventure. Some of my husband’s many strengths: Muscles–when something big or heavy needs lifting, he is there. Shopping–when we discover something missing, he makes yet another trip to Home Depot. Nurturing and caring–He keeps my sister filled with his own version of a frappuccino and both of us with ice tea, sparkling water, and other delicious hydration methods. He fixes lunch (yesterday: Impossible burgers and corn on the cob) and dinner (yesterday: tostadas).  He seems to always know when we need a break for homemade soft serve chocolate-peanut butter-banana ice cream. Availability–whenever and whatever we ask for, he comes and helps. Often he creates a new way, breaks the too-tight bolt, finds the right tool, etc.

These words are a sweet guide in this new work I find myself in–humility, empathy, and curiosity. Here is a found poem from an article I read today:

The Beautiful Triad
A found poem

Humility is the soil of knowledge.
I don’t know.
Humility is the soul.

Curiosity is the water that helps it grow.
I want to know.
Curiosity is the mind.

Empathy is the sunlight that shows us which way to bend.
I know how you feel.
Empathy is the heart.

Source: The Beautiful Triad — Curiosity, Humility, and Empathy


During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Yesterday’s word was Humility. Today’s word is Empathy. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

6 thoughts on “5 & 6 DFABW – Humility and Empathy – Slice of Life

  1. Denise, the word that came to my mind about your husband while I was reading this was dependable. He is there for what is needed of him…muscle…refreshing beverage…snack…fortifying meal. I really enjoyed your poem. May we never lose our curiosity. It is what keeps us going and growing.

  2. You describe a beautiful triad. Your readers will be looking for this in their own lives, we envy what you describe here.

  3. I love the line “often he creates a new way.” Those words really resonated with me in imagining the kind of person your husband is, but also in the poem you shared. What a great connection that I will carry with me today. Thank you!

  4. Denise, I noticed your focus on women—you and your sister—constructing and building and using power tools. Then I noticed your husband cooking and serving food. I love these role reversals and the fluidity of changing and adapting as the remodeling necessitates. You’re acquiring g lots of new skills!

  5. Glenda has a great thought, Denise. Role reversals are good so we can see the other side. I would love to see photos of the space you create in your home. It is exciting to make something with vision and tools. Have fun! I enjoyed your found poem.

  6. Denise, this is a positively gorgeous found poem, so full of truth. I’ve been thinking a lot about humility lately – it involves a selflessness, a willingness to serve, not to judge, and as you point our here so well, an openness to learning. Your words buoy my spirit, friend – thank you!

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