Elikia nanga, how wonderful is holding out hope in your hands to the goodness of life and drinking deep in the well of optimistic comfort? You my child are the embodiment of that hope, both aware of the challenges of trusting in a life that is structurally against the very essence of who you are - a black womxn - but also charging forth in hope that in leaning in (even with its difficulties) the universe filled with the breath of the ancestral women before you sighs. And it is that sigh of relief, that in spite of it all you would try and press in, because you have hope that their breath would carry you - and surely it will my honey. With all of that meandering, hiking, tumbling, strolling and falling of life, the universe will hold you in the same hope that you embody and you will flourish.
I didn't always have this hope, and even now that I have it - I don't always grasp it. Naive I am to think that something so ethereal and divine could be grasped by my mortal hands. The truth is, in spite of myself, God(s) and (t)H(i)er nurturing unfold this hope around me like thick lotion, covering my cracked ashiness and multiple folds. Sometimes, it is in my hand and I hold on to it tangibly - daily looking to it to strengthen my heart when it is weak, and often to renew me. Other times, the sky in my soul becomes overcast and I have to trust that, even without touching or feeling, I am covered by the victories of the universe made of the victories and hopes and prayers of black women that have gone before me, and when my time comes - before you.
In November 2017, I traveled to Norway to see the Northern Lights. This was something I had desired to do since I was a little girl, and I put it on my bucket list optimistic about the possibilities of seeing the rays of the sun dance in the night sky. I had only one night in Tromso, and the forecast was not hopeful that week. Furthermore, as you will learn when you're older, it was a very difficult time in my life. But there I was, standing heart wide open to behold with a 33% chance something I had dreamt of for many years. In the snowy cold of Northern Norway, I boarded a bus as a solo traveler (everyone else was in a couple) and listened as the guide said people had come and gone to Tromso without seeing the lights over the past week. But within minutes of our drive there was indication that luck, and the universe, was on our side. That night I stood by myself with my eyes wide with child-like wonder as I saw the Northern Lights dance across the sky - my breath disappeared and cried alone looking upwards while others held tightly onto those they loved. And in that moment, my heart was strong and full of hope. Despite the small odds, the laborious journey and the lonesome travel, the sky opened up for me by way of promise:
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
Paul Coelho, The Alchemist
I didn't always believe this, but it has been in this challenging season of sitting with my things and unpacking the texture of my joys, pains, hurts and healings that I have come to believe that it is hope embodied in our selves, and trust in ourselves, and love for ourselves that are the truest expression of the universe conspiring and sometimes we just have to stop and listen to ourselves. Listen to the parts of us that are yearning and give name to those things, and submit them in faith to the knowledge and wisdom of those who have come before us. We must at once acknowledge our frailty and be strengthened by the truth that it is not unique to feel pain and hurt. We must at once acknowledge our hopes and aspirations and at once sees these as the outworkings of our selves in tandem with all that breathes and lives around us - the humans, the leaves, the trees.
And when we have done all we can to thrive in spite of ourselves, we must stop and rest in this relational conspiracy that despite the odds we will make it, and we will make it well. This heart exercise can hold our minds and spirits, as it should, because your heart truly is the well-spring of life my honey. Strengthen your heart by embodying for yourself a hope (and action) for all things good. Even when the odds are not in your favour, and you get on the bus, and your drive out into the snow, trust that the lights will shine for you because you've stood up and shown up for yourself. And commit to, at the end of your life, releasing your breath and melding into the cosmic love of the universe that spent your life changing the structures for the next little brown girl child that will look to you for hope.
This and all of the goodness that is in you is the hope I believe will never fail.