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Defiant Hope

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Yesterday I bought a Christmas ornament. Yes, in mid-March I held a Christmas ornament in a shop in Charleston. Susan, IBU’s owner, laughed and said, yup, we are selling Christmas ornaments for spring.

Susan further explained that artisan survivors in Haiti weren't able to get the holiday products to the store until February.

I bought them, how could you not?

I bought the round styrofoam balls, covered in purple sequins with safety pins.

One of my favorite things about homemade art is holding the creation and imagining the woman who made it. What did she think about? Was she worried about her kids? Was she listening to a podcast? Did she say a prayer like a rosary as she placed each of the 500 pins in the soft, styrofoam ball?

As I held the sparkling Christmas ornaments, I could see them intertwined in greenery during the holidays on the altar at the chapel where I preach. I could imagine decorating with them and breaking an Episcopal Advent rule: "don't add color to the greenery!"

In breaking the rule, I felt hope. We would be submitting to a higher rule, one of love and solidarity with women working to make a better life.

It was an extravagant purchase for love.

There is no comparison between these and the mass-produced ones at a big box store. These ornaments offer the miracle of Christmas in March.

It is a dazzling wonder that there was a woman in Haiti, who in the midst of a pandemic, the shooting of a prime minister, and horrific natural disasters, sat down and perfectly placed pins and sequins in a styrofoam ball—to make something better for her life.

There is a miracle in overcoming hardships and still finding space for creativity. The world can inflict so much on women, especially those who know the violence and vulnerability of poverty.

But it cannot take away creativity, and creativity is always a sign of hope.



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