Lean in, friends, while I whisper a word to you, a word I want to repurpose for you so you can remake your world.
Originally a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy desiring to create gold from base metals, it's also defined as an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting. A nonsensical, faultless equation in the chemistry of heaven and earth.
I’ve heard it said that alchemy leads us to remember every redemption story ever told and all the tales of burned down ashes turning toward raised up beauty because alchemy, when we remake it, breathes the transforming breath of value and love.
What does it look like to take the basest elements of our story, the moments of staggering grief and loss, and breathe life and love into burned down ashes?
Meet Fadeela. War widow, adoptive mother, and business owner.
Fadeela and her family are from Yusefia, a Sunni-majority area in Iraq. They had land, a farm, a life. Then, the war came to their home. Coalition forces spilled onto their farm and in the crossfire, her mother died from a stray bomb.
Other family members were wounded—her sister lost an arm. Later, her husband was killed in a roadside bomb. Then, in a final wave of violence, ISIS came. All they had left was leveled in the clash between the militants and government forces and they fled to the slums of Baghdad.
But all was not lost. Fadeela began to stitch her redemption story. Alchemy at work, all shimmering and shot through with the threads of value, of dignity, and of love. And Fadeela, a woman faced with the very worst the world can produce, she tells her ten adoptive children .... “Our life has been difficult, so we should help others in need. God honors humanity, so we should too.”
An inexplicable transmuting of loss to love. Of grief to grace. Of raised up beauty from burned-down ashes.
Friends, what does it look like for you to remake your world? To redeem the moments of fear, the moments that feel as if they would end you?
If Fadeela can love anyway, in the face of such stunning loss, so can we.
We can remake the conversations happening on our social media. We can redeem the fear and strife created in Beirut and Paris and Baghdad and here at home by making our voices heard. I challenge you to lean forward in your communities this holiday season, serving the poor, the marginal, and the ones who don’t look or act like us.
We imagine communities wholeheartedly intent on creating peace between communities at odds; people remaking the world around them. When you donate, you help empower women like Fadeela. You help save a child’s life by providing funds to train and supply local medical teams. When you choose to love anyway, you remake the narrative of ugliness and war that defines our generation.
Thanks to you, Fadeela received the very first empowerment grant and now has a thriving bakery and a place to call home again.
Whatever drives your sense of alchemy, let it drive you to redemption, to remake your world with the life-giving breath of value and love, always leaning forward.
Always loving first.