When the sky falls, the tsunami hits, the pandemic spreads . . . some will run in circles. Chicken Little will squawk, horde, gnash teeth, forecast gloom.
And then there are some, in the midst of life's strange calamities, who will rise into their full stature, and with fear, but not trembling, find a way through.
For the women of Kenya and Colombia and Calcutta with whom Ibu collaborates, I've always hoped that their artisan work could cultivate in them a kind of sovereignty over their lives, a self-respect that allows them to do more than just make money. I have wanted women the world over to have a center that will hold no matter what is loosed upon the world.
Because I have always wanted that for myself.
As structures around us reel, we all stay fast at home - artisans and allies alike - and have no choice but to find right there an inner armature strong enough to move forward. Self-
When I look at the numbers: potentially 30% unemployment, whole sectors of society collapsing, the economy - not to mention my own dream of Ibu - teetering on the brink, the sky falling, . . . I feel a trembling in the silence. I am afraid.
And then, in the silence this isolation offers, I return to the center - the heart from which flows all of my hopes and loves. I find the deep faith in which my life is rooted. And I breathe.
I join my breath with all of my team working hard, each from our homes, to keep our dream alive. I join my spirit with you, my larger family, each of you up against your own impossible losses. And I join the women of the world in whom I have blinding confidence, because I know they now have what it takes to rise and find a way through anything. They have grown self-respect, found their own great resourcefulness, and as for resilience and resolve . . . these women have always possessed an ocean of that.
What they need now is what we all need. Each other.
From solitude to solitude, from silent center to center, across all distances and isolation this disease imposes, I feel more profoundly than ever our need and constant desire for one another.
Said Rilke, quite famously,
"Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other."
And so from my solitude to your solitude, the sun rising on this day, I write with my fearful, open, hopeful heart. May we meet on the other side of this one day and remember the gift of our time apart. May we remember, now and always, how to greet, and love, and protect one another. If we do, the center will hold.
Susan Hull Walker