A Reflection for the month of June
“Love is like the pendulum of a clock which sets all the other parts in motion.” -Suzanne Aubert Meri Hōhepa
There is something particularly hopeful about the birth of a mid-winter child.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, June means winter is with us. There are frosts and bare branches; the pretence of autumn is over and the coldest days, the shortest of nights are ahead. In many traditions, including Te ao Māori, winter is the time for story-telling. When the outside world has become cold and harsh, the rich inner world of ancestors and imagination can be a safe and nourishing place to explore. By the time Puanga, the pointer star directs our attention to the Matariki cluster in the night sky, the longest night will have already begun to yield to the lengthening days and our waking moments are drawn once again, into the light. Winter is a trusting time.
June is the month we celebrate the birthday of Suzanne Aubert, born not in these “southern wilds” but in a northern hemisphere village, St Symphorien-de-Lay in France. Her family would have welcomed her into the generosity of summertime, with its busy days, long evenings and seasonal warmth. She may have been innocent and loved as any child, but it seems that from her very beginning, Suzanne knew that harsh realities would accompany her every endeavour. As an infant, a mishap involving an icy pond and sharp rocks left her partially blind and disabled. Her parents employed all means at their disposal to find an effective combination of therapies and cures, but still the harsh comments and pitying looks she endured would have cut deeply. Suzanne developed a particular empathy for the social or physically wounded as a result. She would never doubt God or her parents’ love, nor would she ever forget the healing power of knowledge, respect, kindness and laughter.
When Suzanne’s family left their village for the city of Lyon, they would have left behind some of their hurts and looked to the future with hope. They could not have known that this move would set in motion works of great love, for generations of people her closest family would never meet. Read more about the story of Suzanne Aubert Meri Hōhepa here and here.
Let us ask ourselves, What do I take into my winter?