One of my favorite professors from UD, the one who taught the Ogre and I that love mattered more than laws (the Thomistic idea of love, just so we’re clear, not the fuzzy Care-bear crap kind), has started a GiveForward fund for a Ukrainian poet who, along with her young son, survived Chernobyl. This poet, Lyubov Sirota, turned her suffering into poetry, and continued to write through debilitating life-long pain from radiation poisoning. She fell in love with a fellow Ukrainian poet, and together they managed to buy a house for her now-grown son Sasha, near the remains of Pripyat. They then bought another tiny apartment for themselves in Crimea, where they settled into a kind of peace.
That was less than a year ago. Now they are homeless once again, displaced by the violence that has rocked Ukraine.
My professor, Dr. Debra Romanick-Baldwin, is not a Catholic. However, she is one of the people who supported me with an iron will and a steady, unreal kind of love in the aftermath of my addiction and unwed pregnancy. It was during that time that you Catholics won me over by nothing more or less than your absolute and unwavering love. For me, as I was, but loving me too much to allow me to remain that way.
It is strange and uncomfortable to presume upon you all by writing this email, including some I have been less than charitable toward (*wince*PatrickMadrid*wince), but I have faith in your goodness as Catholics (and maybe, for some, our shared UD history). Please help me show this one person that Catholic means universal. I’m not going to be obsessively checking your blogs or anything to see if you’ve shared this, but if you could, maybe just like the GiveForward page on facebook or Twitter. It would mean so much to Dr. Baldwin, who has been much disheartened by the lackluster response to her friend’s plight. And it could actually make a life-or-death difference for Lyubov, who is too plagued by the residual physical effects of Chernobyl to move from Ukraine.
Here is the link to her GiveForward: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/5t94/lyubov-sirota
But above all, please pray for Lyubov, Victor, Sasha, and those suffering in Ukraine…and maybe add to your prayers Dr. Baldwin, because she’s marvelous and amazing and I want her to feel all the wondrous love of Catholicism that I have felt these past years.
Because I’m nothing if not a poet (though a crappy one) at heart, I’ll close this super-weird email with a poem that Lyubov wrote for her son in the aftermath of Chernobyl.
“For My Son”
I build the house from dewdrops,
I weave walls from fragrant grass …
I build the house, for us together, my son,
from clouds desperately billowing…
From forest scents I weave a carpet,
and a birdsong – slate for a roof!
Let our house sing, laugh, cry, breathe and rejoice –
to be in such an open space!
I build the house on four winds, near four roads
that all messages may fly to us.
So that sorrow, pain and fear
are ground into the roadside dust…
I build the house from dewdrops
and a light refracted by a smile…
I build the house on very unsteady ground, –
Forgive me this impracticality,
Thanks, y’all, and really, please forgive me for this presumption.
If you can help, please do.