Sunday Morning ~ Solstice Prayers
Masiku athera ku citseko. ~ Days come to an end, a door opens to let things in and let things go.
December 19, 2021
It’s Sunday morning and snowing. I’m just back from feeding the ducks and chickens and shake the wet snow off my boots. It’s cold but not frigid and the snow is a beautiful, clean blanket. It looks like a Christmas card out there, right on time. The moon is full making the end of the year less dark. The sun sets with an alpine glow lingering into the evening. It’s a lovely gift this timing of the full moon with the winter solstice. Apropos, I think, for a year that is bringing us out of a dark and dangerous time, despite the bleak forecast. It makes this week’s celebration more poignant for me and I feel like turning inward. I’ve come to love spending this holiday in quiet appreciation.
I am accustomed to wintry Christmases and only recently wondered how cold it was when Mary and Joseph made the journey to be counted in a census. I am thinking about them as people, not gods, and imagining what it was like to be so gravid, forced to move unquestioningly on a harsh journey. Last year the census did not require us to travel. Those who did not send in their card got a visit at home. It was so simple. I imagine the possibilities for women’s lives having been counted as equal citizens. What a different life we’d have if this were true throughout history. What if we’d learned from birth that our voices and bodies were sacred, like Mary’s? Our images of her are embossed with shining blues and whites, halos and golden rings. But she was poor and most likely dirty after travel through dust and sand. Back then, birth was the greatest killer of women and a messy, painful process at the very least. How frightened was she?
It’s tiring to carry a child to term in the best of circumstances. As powerful as the experience is, there are moments when it feels like a parasite sucking every ounce of nourishment from your bones. As much as I wanted and loved my babies as they grew in me, I’d tire of the kicking, the heartburn, the peeing, the weariness of just standing up and moving, maneuvering through doorways, sitting, standing, all a chore. Fitting behind a steering wheel, bumps in the road, a pothole, a rough shoulder, became major irritants hurting my back and roughening my mood. These were babies I desperately wanted. And it was hard. My short stature meant discomfort was the new norm after vomiting constantly for three months. There was fatigue, back ache, hunger. All this I embraced as normal discomforts and the beginning of the many that would color motherhood. What must it be like to ride a donkey for miles on harsh terrain? Or walk hundreds of miles to a border as the safest option? I did not have to go through my pregnancies alone but many women do. I want to believe Joseph was a loving husband to Mary, traveling only because they were forced to. With or without snow for them to navigate, it must have been rough.
Mary dominates my thoughts this week as we celebrate the birth of her child. Now I think of her as a goddess and want to feel her caring for all women who are under attack, who are forced to travel to receive care, for women without a loving husband or a donkey or a guiding light. For those women I imagine Mary walking beside them, guiding them to a more perfect light. May she open the door at the end of the day, let the hatred and fear out, and love and guidance in.
Blessings for a peaceful Christmas.
Love to all,