I am heartbroken about so many things both little and big, close and far. That we, as in my son, partner, and I are isolated from contact, physical, from those in our families. That fear and anxiety is the medium of the message everywhere I look. That my son was not able to enjoy the rest of his school semester with his friends in school. That when he approaches other kids the first wall put up is fear. That he has no friends near to play and run around with. That my partner and I are his sole source of entertainment besides his toys and the intervals of time we let him watch television.
That this being the island that it is, with deeply embedded roots of colonization we will get whatever is distilled from Capitol Hill, and this distillation will be further warped and fractured. That everything “that is going on” in the health crisis masks deeper layers of complexity that have not potentially been problematized nor widely looked at. That I don’t know what the world in the context of day to day living will look like a year from now, nor even six months from now for the sake of my son’s education. That this whole ordeal has possibly/perhaps introduced discomfort and pain for my son in his development. That I am struggling in being a mother, a teacher, and also a person who works from home. That to go to the beach means breaking the law.
That another black man was cruelly murdered and his family was left without him. That he will not see his kids grow, if he had children. That more pain is sowed, more cruelty, hatred, discord. That there are thousands upon thousands hungry and without food, without a reliable source of safety, of income, without a home.
What will the world look like when we do step out of our hideaways and look to the sun? What constraints will be in place without my consent nor the consent of many? What limits, bifurcations, and distortions be employed?
Have we ever really known what lies ahead even during “peaceful” times? What has been truly certain in living? What has ever been guaranteed? Did we believe that the apparatus of control would ensure our individual progress? Is there such a thing as progress, progressing unendingly in a straight line toward more, better, fuller, brighter? Have I ever been able to fully control how any thing will affect my son and his development? Can I ever truly safeguard him from all pain and suffering? Can I myself be guaranteed no pain and suffering? Or my partner?
Is there certainty beyond the now becoming?
There are many many many things I do not know, nor that I can hold in my hands to control. But I do know that there is this now that I am experiencing. I know that I am in relation to the landscape and this is my landscape. This is the terrain I navigate, now. The topography that unfolds with every encounter of my body with what is immediate and in proximity. My body feels sad and it is tired, heartbroken, and stained with tears.
These past days I’ve been involved in a novena to Saint Joan of Arc, one that has opened outward toward intriguing landscapes of open fields under the sun, and closed doors, rooms and halls. That maiden who heard the call and acted, who felt the touch and moved. As her feast day looms ahead, I sing a song of hope for all of us.
I pray this same maiden, undaunted in life, may grant us courage and peace in the face of fear, hope in the face of uncertainty, love in the face of hate, sovereignty of body and spirit in the face of tyranny.
2 thoughts on “A litany of sorrows and a song of hope”
My heart goes out to you and your family. While not strictly a novena or prayer, another litany from another group of badass women has always stayed at the forefront of my mind in troubled times – these being no exception. I’m sure it’s one you’ve seen before.
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
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Thank you for your words, and the prayer I love it, it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.