Embracing the Both/And

She is all things fierce and has a roar that protects and yells “no” to hatred, oppression, racism, and exploitation. She is bold and tenacious, and justice is woven into her core being. She is profoundly strong and holds the readiness to flip a table that is not reflective of communal flourishing. Though she and her ancestors originate from the lowest part of the Caste System, there is a distinctive pride and security that runs through her bones that can command a room toward disruptive and holy change. 

The square-shaped, lighter brown scar on her right foot holds a marking of survival from the flames of orphanhood. This is a marking that reminds her of where she comes from and the resilience that empowers her to step into tomorrow. There is a fire within her that is growing and bringing a blaze to things that have been covered in darkness for far too long. May her fierceness find welcome by those who need it.

Of course, there are two sides to a coin that holds complexity, dance, and fullness.

The stunningly kind, joyful, and brilliant light she bears brings fullness and balance to this world. Her astounding attunement is unmatched, and she offers this freely to those near and far. Her ability to lean in and use her glorious sight on behalf of others brings a sense of love and deep care that ushers in freedom, healing, and shalom. The well of wisdom that has been forged by many tears, many aches, and ongoing longing is growing and filling with goodness. There is a tender and lovely side that comes from a stirring of compassion and empathy. This tenderness is seen when there is a pulling of heartstrings and room for contemplation. 

She wonders how a little, malnourished Indian/Pakistani orphan girl, who has survived and conquered so much, can hold the both/and. How can she be fierce and protective while also remaining tender and humble? How is she able to laugh without fear of the future while continuing to take such big risks? There is a mystery here and, just one step beyond, a space filled with curiosity, wonder, and awe. 

She cultivates an intentional desire to not flee from one side of the coin and embrace the other. In a beautiful dance of both/and, she experiences integration, growth, and embodiment, and as a result, she sees the beauty of bringing both sides to the table and the world. 

May no one squelch the vibrant life that is in her. May she hold both parts with honor and embrace the fullness. May she use wisdom in knowing when to lean on each part of her identity for the sake of communal flourishing. May she bless the fierce side as she does the tender, light-hearted side. For both parts are sacred and both parts make her who she was created to be.

Sandhya Oaks is a ministry leader, spiritual director, writer, and speaker. She is fiercely committed to inviting people to curiosity and possibility through hosting Kintsugi Story Workshops and Story Retreats. She is one who brings light to dark places and invites others to courageously do the same. She is a Transracial Adoptee with Pakistani and Indian roots, and her joys include traveling, gathering around the table, and water sports. You can find more of her good work at Sandhyaoaks.com.