To China, With Love

“Free Hugs,” by Serve the City Geneva

I am so sorry for your losses. I am even more sorry that people are saying unkind and racist things about your country and about Chinese people throughout the world, just because your country was unfortunate enough to experience first what we are all experiencing now. Even as some people blame you for this pandemic, you are mobilizing your country’s resources to help the world respond to something that is no one’s fault.

I am grateful to your government for sharing information with the rest of the world that can help us all through this, and for the way you swiftly mobilized all resources available to contain and respond the this health crisis, without. I am grateful to your health care workers for being on the front lines of designing a response to COVID19. I am grateful that you were able to do all this even without knowing what we now know about this virus. I am grateful to your scientists for working so hard to find out as much as we can about this coronavirus and how to survive and defeat it.

You may not have done everything perfectly. Perhaps you were slow to admit to yourselves and the world that we are facing a pandemic. But some people in our leadership have been every bit as much in denial and slow to take appropriate action, just as some people in our citizenry have willfully ignored advice to slow this virus.

You have already faced the worst of this, because you faced it first and alone. We are lucky to be following behind you, benefitting from your wisdom, learning from your mistakes. You shouldered the steepest learning curve bravely and with fortitude. Thank you.

I am sorry that when you were fighting this disease, we were not fighting alongside you. We were not sending whatever resources we could to help. We stood by and watched in fear and overconfidence.

We look to you even now, to learn how this disease will transform our families, our societies and our world. We look to you for the hope of recovery. And to all of you who have suffered and lost loved ones, I know I speak with the voice of many Americans when I offer you our deepest condolences.

I am so sorry for your losses.

A Candle for Emily

Photo courtesy of akosolov, Creative Commons

February 2nd–Imbolc

Three years ago, the year I turned forty and my father died, I began this blog to document just one thing–my resolution to begin walking every day of my remaining days, first thing in the morning. As I suspected at the time, this one change began a transformative process that continues right into this year. The transformations cycle backward and forward, at different times invisible, exhilarating, frustrating, terrifying and satisfying. Mostly, I write here about how I grapple with changes I have chosen: to get married, become a parent, leave the professional world of teaching for the world of homemaking, pursue my ambition to write books for children, and carry my inner child forward in healing.

Today, I learned about a mom who has spent the last few years grappling with changes she did NOT choose: the loss of an eight-month old child to SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), subsequent miscarriages and just last week, a stillborn child. You can read more from Emily on her blog Sweet Ezra, and you can support her efforts to raise funds for SMA education and research through the organization she started after her son’s death, Hearts for Ezra.

But I think what Emily may need more than anything right now is your love. Today is Imbolc, an old Gaelic holiday marking the beginning of spring and now celebrated as part of the pagan Wheel of the Year. Traditionally, the Goddess Brigid presides over this holiday, a time to welcome in the new year, a time to light candles in the dark. Witches believe that through intention we can accomplish magic that will transform ourselves and the world. We believe in the power of intention. Some might call this the power of prayer.

For Imbolc, we invoke the triple aspects of the Goddess Brigid:

Brigid the Poet, who teaches us to speak our truth, with beauty,

Early Christians incorporated Brigid, the Celtic goddess of Imbolc, into St. Brigid of Kildare

Brigid of the Forge, who grants us the spark and the fire we use to transform the old into the new, to smith the tools we need from the materials at hand, and

Image by Gita Rau, Flickr Creative Commons

Brigid of the Well, who heals all wounds and tends the waters of the world.

Signs of spring 2 by James Jordan, via Flickr

Signs of spring 2 by James Jordan, via Flickr

I light a candle for Emily this Imbolc, that words may offer her solace and a path through grief, that the spark of her family and her hope continue to burn bright, and that she be held and healed.

To Emily, I offer gratitude for the blaze she tends in the world, the lighted path of her words. When you read them, you too will be warmed by the fire of Her bright spirit. Blessed be.