This week I have invited my beautiful friend Hannah Marazzi to write. Hannah and I are kindred spirits – multi-hyphenates who can go from talking about Canadian foreign policy one minute to poetry the next. Hannah is reading for an MPhil in Public Policy at the University of Cambridge (I mention this for no other reason than because I am so proud of her). You can read more from Hannah at The Beautiful Ordinary
Also, I am wondering if I can ask you a huge favour – I am hoping to get some reader feedback on my blog. Would you mind taking a minute to complete this short survey after you have soaked in Hannah’s words? Thank you in advance! https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3MKMY3W
Awaken – I chose this word early in the stages of when Krista was dreaming up this writing challenge. Something about the word spoke to me but I didn’t know what yet. I tucked it away because, in truth, I found myself in a season that felt anything but awakened. I felt submerged, lost, and a little like I was wandering in the dark. This was not how I had envisioned welcoming in the new year but here we were. And yet, as I sit down to write this almost a month and a half into 2021, I can see now that something, even in those darkest days, was being awakened in me.
We are two days away from Lent. I am three weeks into a term that promises to be as rigorous as the last. We are in the middle of our third indefinite lockdown. It’s funny though, as I look back on the last days and weeks, I am reminded of the truth I re-arrive at each Shrove Tuesday: that almost all good things are grown in the dark – the womb, the tomb, the dirt. I did not arrive at this truth by myself. This concept was gifted to me by Madeleine L’Engle, Sarah Bessey, Mary Oliver, and Barbara Brown Taylor, to name just a few of my teachers.
Could the 40 days of Lent, these interminable lockdown days, this liminal space between the beginning and end of my masters degree spent living out of a suitcase, caught by COVID in a home not my own, be the setting of my awakening? What is being birthed in all this uprootedness? I’m beginning to see glimpses of it, like I’m opening my eyes for the first time, adjusting to a new kind of light, the darkness like a blanket, gentling my arrival to somewhere entirely new. I am awakening to values I didn’t know were so deeply rooted in me. I’m awakening to weaknesses and wounds I need to face up to. I am awakening to the strength that is deep in me, having waited for so many years for me to trade-in my previous ideas of power for a new brand of resilience, entirely my own. Slowly, slowly, I am beginning to awaken to a life that will become clear on the other side of this degree.
So herein lies the secret, awakening is not – as I had previously thought – a singular, powerful moment in time. It is not always shiny and bright. Rather, it is the incremental process of rebirth, the orientation of welcome to the new that is waiting for each of us, both without and within, if only we have the courage to let it in.
This post is part of the 2021 Writing Challenge. This challenge is open to anyone and involves writing on one word a week for 52 weeks. Write for yourself or write for others but either way, please feel free to share by posting a link in the comments (if you’re posting on this week’s word) or post on social using the #2021writingchallenge and tagging me on Twitter or Instagram, or posting on my FB page so I can repost. Happy Writing!