Blessing the House of the Heart

From Jan Richardson’s The Cure for Sorrow (and a fitting opening to blessing)

If you could see

how this blessing

shimmers inside you,

you would never wonder

whether there will be

light enough,

time enough,

room enough for you.

If you could see the way this blessing

has inscribed itself

on every wall

of your heart,

writing its shining line

across every doorway,

tracing the edge

of every window

and table

and hall–

if you could see this,

you would never question

where home is

or whether it has

a welcome for you.

This blessing wishes

to give you

a glimpse.

It will not tell you

it has been waiting.

It will not tell you

it has been keeping watch.

It would not

want you to know

just how long

it has been holding

this quiet vigil

for you.

It simply wants you

to see what it sees,

wants you to know

what it knows–

how this blessing

already blazes in you, illuminating every corner

of your broken

and beautiful heart.

What You Should Not Say

Do not tell me

there will be a blessing

in the breaking,

that it will ever

be a grace

to wake into this life

so altered,

this world

so without.

Do not tell me

of the blessing

that will come

in the absence.

Do not tell me

that what does not

kill me

will make me strong

or that God will not

send me more than I

can bear.

Do not tell me

this will make me

more compassionate,

more loving,

more holy.

Do not tell me

this will make me

more grateful for what

I had.

Do not tell me

I was lucky.

Do not even tell me

there will be a blessing.

Give me instead

the blessing

of breathing with me.

Give me instead

the blessing

of sitting with me

when you cannot think

of what to say.

Give me instead

the blessing

of asking about him–

how we met

or what I loved most

about the life

we have shared;

ask for a story

or tell me one

because a story is, finally,

the only place on earth

he lives now.

If you could know

what grace lives

in such a blessing,

you would never cease

to offer it.

If you could glimpse

the solace and sweetness

that abide there,

you would never wonder

if there was a blessing

you could give

that would be better

than this–

the blessing of

your own heart


and beating

with mine.

This is from Jan Richardson’s latest book, The Cure for Sorrow, a collection of blessings she wrote after the unexpected death of her husband. I’m thinking through an upcoming summer unit with new chaplain interns, thinking through a writing prompt friends gave me, and considering the integration of loss, of words, of self and of care. I commend the book to you if you consider such things yourself.