Friday, May 20, 2016

Blossoming into a new season

Blossoming into a new season.

I love all the seasons, and living in New England, I am blessed to experience all four. Spring, here, in my hometown, just seems special though and everyone is abuzz with activity.

The weather has warmed and many of us are playing catch-up after a long winter before we can settle into the mental drift of summer. The robin in my yard makes her annual home in the trellis covering my screen porch, carefully mending the nest and creating a safe haven for this year’s brood. The trees begin to leaf, azalea and cherry blossoms begin to bud with bright pink and lavender, giving me a glimpse of the colors that will burst as the garden comes into full bloom.   

All this growth and activity doesn’t only take place in nature,  it seems to be a busy time for us humans too, as we wake from the malaise of winter.  With renewed energy, we tackle all the projects we didn’t get to in the fall and work on them in between a busy spring calendar.  There are spring sports, showers, weddings, reunions and graduations.

Spring has Sprung…senior high students are busy, getting ready to move out of the nest and to spread their wings and fly.  They’ve sent out applications, decided what path they’ll take, and now it’s time to celebrate their upcoming graduation with senior week and senior prom.

In another life, another story, I might have been caught up in the dichotomy of emotions that accompany an empty nester.  I experienced that transition when my middle child graduated high school six years ago, when my mind and body kept telling me that it wasn’t time, that it was six years too early. 

Next month, Amilia should have graduated with the class of 2016.  I’ll be brutally honest: I did not know how I would react to this graduation season.  When experiencing deep trauma and grief, counselors advise you to plan well, and always have an out.   I utilized that strategy well and often.   I would have expected to need or revisit that approach this year.
I thought this year could find me in another dark pit to climb out from. At the very least, I would have expected the need to be insular, to be quiet, to journal, meditate, hoping to find some understanding. But God is good...walking alongside me during those dark days, always reminding me that there was a glimmer of light in the shadows.

Sarah Howard, Senior Intern
Dana Hall School
Catherine Conroy, Senior Intern
Montrose School
That light of hope shows up, just when needed. As we enter a season of growth. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with some of our student angels, our senior interns at Amilia's Light, Catherine Conroy, who heard about us from a teacher at Montrose School and Sarah Howard, Dana Hall, a playgroup friend of Amilia’s.
I had the opportunity to get to know Meredith Sullivan, another senior who went to Sunday School with Amilia at Lincoln School’s, “Educate a Girl, Change the World," International Women's Day Celebration. I was inspired by the girls in the workshop and the other presenters who are guided by the light to affect change.

Meredith Sullivan, at right, at podium. 

During  the year, I spent time with the seniors who helped pilot A5, Amilia’s Angels: Ambassadors for Anti-Trafficking Awareness.  Delia Davis, Amanda Coulombe, Caleigh O’Leary, Katie Lyons and Sean O’Connor.  They helped us awe attendees at Light The Night by illuminating Amilia’s Garden.  Sean also went to Sunday school with Amilia and Delia was a pre-school friend who I had not seen much over the years, perhaps not since we last played house or held a tea party in what now is Amilia’s Garden.   I listen to what matters to them, and I see the light of hope illuminated through them.

Amilia's Angels. Ambassadors for Anti-trafficking Awareness
Sean O'Connor, Delia Davis, Michelle Luhrmann, Katie Lyons, Caleigh O'Leary, Amanda Coulombe

That light was shining the other night as I heard laughter and looked out my back window and realized that another boy who went to preschool with Amilia was having a pre-prom party. I sensed the buzz of nervous energy from these seniors, who are just on the brim of new adventure,new possibilities and new growth, and I realized I could not be happier for them.  I’m excited and joyful and at peace. I am so completely grateful to be in this place - figuratively, literally and spiritually.   

Senior Prom
Amanda Coulombe, Katie Lyons, Caleigh O'Leary, Delia Davis

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with these hopeful seniors as I watched them broaden their horizons as they learned about human justice and what can be achieved to affect change in the lives of young women who now are free from the bondage of deprivation and modern day slavery and who also are beginning to blossom as they shine Amilia’s Light and illuminate our world.

Special thanks to Montrose School, Dana Hall School, The Lincoln School and Medfield High School, and most especially to our these students, who embody our tag line #ILLUMINATEOURWORLD. They have served to help Amilia's Light to grow, thereby providing safety and a path to freedom for the young women at 10,000 Lights Womens Business Centre , a social enterprise jointly sponsored by Destiny Women-Uganda and Amilia's Light.