Blessings have often felt trite to me:
"Bless his heart."
So, for Lent this year, I am excited to reframe the art and ministry of blessing. Amos and I have joined 23 others and we've committed to send 40 blessing cards, one for each day of Lent.
Here's my practice:
Every morning I come to the office, I make my coffee and sit down at my desk. The box of lent blessing cards is there, staring at me. With a pen and roll of stamps close by, I go through each card like it's a deck of cards, shuffling the deck and re-reading the words until one of them makes me stop. I'm often surprised by the person God places in my mind to bless. I take the divine bait and start writing on the back of the card. I find the address of the person, write it on the envelope, stamp it and put it in the mail.
Some of the blessing prompts have been difficult to send:
"Blessed be the traumatized"
"Blessed be the slave"
"Blessed be the mentally ill"
"Blessed be the unmarried"
"Blessed be the millionaire"
This practice takes a lot of courage.
It causes me not only to think about more people on a daily basis, but also their experience of life. I begin to think about how the millionaire gets defined by her money or the the bipolar man by his illness. The divorcee and the unmarried shunned and shamed on pain they already feel. How can pointing out their reality be a blessing?
And yet, time and time, again, I short change God. I forget that God uses rare gifts for blessings and that a little courage goes a long way. Friends and strangers have thanked me for putting their name on a blessing card. It seems the timing has been just right and the weighted paper with Maria's artwork becomes worthy of a frame. The recipients of these cards seem to appreciate the reminder that they are a blessing.
Here's a blessing for you, yeah you, the one reading this blog. Separated by this screen and some routers and nodes connecting us on the internet:
"Blessed be the separated
by distance and in heart
two somethings dispersed by
circumstance and stories still being told
a whole presently halved
but perhaps not forever."