thoughts & prayers for ukraine

As I sat to write my weekly email to you today, I’m finding it hard to think about anything but Ukraine.

I am in awe of the courage of a people fighting for their freedoms in this unprovoked, unjustified war.

A few days ago, I heard an Ukrainian mother talking on the news. She had moved her family underground into the Kharkiv subway station to hide from the bombing, and to shield her young daughter from the sounds.

She said she smiles during the day, “so that my daughter can feel safe,” but releases into tears only after she’s fallen asleep in her arms. She wants to fight but wants even more to keep her daughter safe. She does not know if she’ll see her husband again. They were living a normal life last week.

I then heard a father talking about how he felt when he left his wife and two young kids to join in the fight. He felt brave and scared at the same time, he said. A few days ago, he was still going to work, coming home for dinner with his family, writing entries for his heavy metal music blog. This week he is armed and fighting for his country.

During my years at UNICEF, I worked with children affected by conflict, and created sport and play programs for refugees who had fled their homes in search of security and peace. These programs provided some sense of normalcy for the kids.

When I think back to those memories, this is what I learned.

The human spirit is incredibly resilient.

The love of a parent is fierce and brave.

Some of the most grateful people I have met in my lifetime are the ones who have lost so much.

In times like this, it can be hard to know what to do. One suggestion is to send your energy to the Ukrainian people, perhaps through meditation or prayer. The fight they bravely take on is for millions of lives, but also for the fundamental principles that demand peace and security for each one of us.

It is our birthright to live in freedom and peace.

With fierce love,

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