As we continue this new year, moving toward spring and the lengthening days, I feel the anticipation of warmer weather and also know there is more time to wait. Our themes for worship this month are Longing and Wonder, which fit so well any time of year, but particularly so in these “just before” moments. Just before the holidays, just before the spring, or just before summer vacation. Instead of being the middle of a pattern, we are in the middle of the shift. Temperatures peak but promise to fall again. Teasing the winter away for a bit of flirtation with the Sun.
Imbolgc, celebrated on what many know as Groundhog’s Day, is a European-rooted pagan celebration of this anticipation of the Sun’s return. When I was a child living in Tucson, my mom started the tradition of hanging paper snowflakes from the ceiling during December and January. On Imbolgc, we would try to shoot them down with Nerf guns or grab them by balancing on the furniture, symbolically turning the seasons in our home as they turned outside.
Along with Imbolgc, February holds Valentine’s Day — which presents longings and wonders of a different nature— and the entire short month is declared “Black History Month.” Every February, I long for a turning in the seasons of our telling of history. A turning to weaving the stories all together as the one story of interconnectedness that history and life truly is, not compartmentalized into months of acknowledgment along the year of whiteness and maleness. Since the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ was released, there is more dialogue about the stories that get pushed aside or silenced. There has been dialogue before, and the conversation gets lulled by other needs. However, with the persistent calling back to consciousness of the Black Lives Matter, Water Protector, Trans Lives, and Undocumented and Unafraid movements, I can feel the transitions around the ways we tell our history, we are reaching the Tomorrow mentioned by Langston Hughes in “I, Too.” Slowly, consciously, and consistently people are working to make this possible.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
by Langston Hughes – “I, Too.”
May February bring awareness to the wonder at the beauty and possibilities of the lengthening days and renewed energy the Sun can bring. May we be in touch with the action motivated by the yearning of our hearts and consciences— for justice, for connection, for learning.