You, Alina Joy Brown, came into the world on a Thursday evening that sang of Spring. Outside daffodils began to poke their leaves through the Virginia soil, and blue jays, robins, and larks called their greetings from trees full of swollen branches that are minutes away from exploding with leaves and blossoms. And in the delivery room had the NCAA tournament on TV, because March is March, after all. You arrived fast and yelling, just like your brother. It seems that you have places to go and things to say.
We are so glad you are here. Your cradle and clothes are ready. All of your grandparents and several aunts have had plane tickets booked for months, excitedly waiting to see your face and hold your little hand. Your brother has been practicing saying your name and will surely be glad to shower you with his infinite and enthusiastic attention. The cherry blossoms will be out soon, and we will take you to see them. Before you know it we will get on a plane and land in Saudi Arabia, where your earliest memories will be set to a backdrop of sand dunes and date palms. That will only be the beginning of your adventures. We’re going to live in lots of places, and visit even more. We will see mountains, jungles, castles and oceans together. We will eat exciting and tasty food, and dance to music that you won’t hear on the radio in Michigan or Wisconsin. You will learn to communicate with and love people from many backgrounds. And before any of us know it you will be off having your own adventures, exploring and experiencing this big, beautiful world on your own two feet.
Things will not always be easy. This world can be pretty dark. Injustice and pain can crush in on us from all sides and make it hard to find our way. In all honesty, you have been born into a difficult time in our country and world. Kids were gunned down at their school in Florida just a couple of weeks ago, and none of the grown-ups know what to do about it. The Korean peninsula could be on the brink of a terrifying war, like other parts of the world. And every day we are reminded that women, right here in America, are often treated as second class citizens to men, held back, assaulted, and then ignored. The times, daughter, are dark.
What is so remarkable, though, is that light shines the brightest when the darkness seems to be at its deepest. Within hours of the terrible attack in Florida we saw the kids who were attacked, not a lot older than you, standing up and demanding change, calling for all of us to be better. Just yesterday tens of thousands of kids all over the country stood and marched for change, in solidarity those who are hurting. Just last month the Winter Olympics took place in South Korea, and we were reminded that there is still room for the shared celebration of excellence and beauty, even when the drums of war begin to sound. And seeing the two Koreas march into the opening ceremony under one flag showed us that maybe the guns can remain silent. Maybe there is a better way. And the millions of brave women with the courage to say #MeToo show us just how many people are fighting tooth and nail to give a better world to you and the rest of your generation. Lights shining in darkness, brightly, bravely, and persistently. And the great thing is that light, no matter how small, always overcomes darkness. Light always wins.
And we, daughter, are meant to be part of that light. Jesus told us so himself. He told us that we are the light of the world, and that our job is to shine brightly. We are supposed to do all of the wonderful and mysterious things that light does: to reveal what is hidden, to inspire joy, to illuminate what is beautiful, to bring comfort in the midst of fear, and to spark growth. Our job is to push back against darkness, even and especially when it is at its deepest.
“Alina” means “light,” and our prayer is that you would always shine brightly. We pray that wisdom, truth, joy, and courage will light your path, and that they will empower you to bring light to dark places. And we pray most of all that you will come to know the One who is the source of all light, and that you would draw strength from His voice, just as Lucy did when she heard Aslan’s voice speaking encouragement to her in the middle of deep darkness (that’s from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We will read it to you soon). May you know light that you may become light. Courage, dear heart.
We love you immeasurably, and we can’t wait to see what will happen next,
Your Dad and Mom