Blessing for the Weary

Blessing for the Weary © Gail Doktor

This blessing is for those who heard the morning call
Kept the vigil through the night
Then kept on working and watching in the day, too

Hands that can hardly hold on
Eyes that burn and blink to stay open anymore
Throat that aches to speak or swallow

This blessing sits next to you
Bumping your shoulder and chuckling
Sharing the long night and the endless day

Paying attention alongside you
Bearing witness and digging in
Catching you as you finally come off shift and lay down your head

Promising that dreams may come
And sleep will heal what can be healed
And you will rise again in the company of a love that stays awake
Even when you cannot

Blessing for Guts

Blessing for Guts — © August 2018

This blessing finds its way
through the flared nostril
and the parted lips
down the open throat
into the busy stomach and gastrointestinal system

This blessing makes its home
among the bacteria colonizing the gut
that extracts what it needs and
sends the rest back out again
through innards that twists and coil
from bellies to bowels,
that place where grit is supposed to live.

This blessing lives deep inside
where the digestive tract
operates every day as best it can
feeding and nourishing you,
marveling at the soft mucosal barriers
between what passes through
and what endures always.

The blessing bows down
when you squat and relieve yourself,
calling you to a daily act of humility,
remembering you are a fleshy creature
fragile and powerful, tall and strong,
but also brought low at times,
in this mortal body.

 

 

Blessing For Rain

Blessing For Rain © Gail Doktor 2018

This blessing turns its face
And fingers upward
And opens itself
To the leaking of the sky

Grateful for the density
Of particles that quiver
Waiting to be released
Bursting from confinement
In heavens and clouds

Eager to pour out and down
Rivulets and runnels
Torrents and teardrops
Weeping of the world for itself

Reaching for the part of creation
That thirsts and longs
Rising tide
As life soaks into
Barren or burgeoning earth

This blessing holds out its palms
Like a beggars bowl
Empty
Waiting to be filled

Prepared to catch just enough
Letting the rest overflow
For too much all at once
Brings choking drowning
Until you are swept away

Ready to capture more
When too little leaves wracklines of past tides
And high water marks of dry memory
While the parched soul sighs
And wonders when hope will return

Cups its hands
To hold water enough
In clear sloshing slopping puddles
To sustain you
To moisten your parted lips
To squelch across your tongue
To slip down your throat
To satisfy your belly

This blessing
Quenches your yearning
With what you need
And not one drop more

Blessing for Wilderness

Blessing for Wilderness (c) Gail Doktor

This blessing grows
In the thicket of thorny cane
Around which you bend and step
Caught on its prickers
So the scratch hurts

The berry sweetness
Ripe and red beneath the serrated green leaf
Bursts brighter on your tongue
Rolls throbbing through your hesitant fingers
Breaks on the ground
Smacks in the mouth
Hard-won among tall grass, lush fern, fallen birch, rotting logs, and working bees,

The wild richness flourishes
In the trampled bowl
You guess was as recently as a few hours ago
A deer’s breakfast, a bear’s luncheon,
Flattened like a nest
Trampled down among arching branches

Here is the heart
Of pain and succulence
You find along the narrow animal trail
You mistook for a human path
Overwhelmed by the scratchy maps
It leaves on your exposed skin as you pass through

As you suck on the just-turned crimson  plunder
In the wake of those first missteps
Off known routes and maps
Coming to a place that is
For just now
Yours alone

You linger
Gather up, gather in
Until you cannot bear to feast anymore
Unless you return with someone else
Offering unexpected bounty

Yet who will follow you
Past all markers into the unknown
For a handful of summer sweetness
And a temporary set of scars
And a blessing stained
Across empty, cupped palms?

Blessing for Pause Before the Storm

Blessing for Pause Before the Storm © Gail Doktor July 2018

Blessing for the heat
In the moment before everything breaks open
For the spiked humidity running as sweat down your back
For the breath inheld while you count higher and higher
As the pressure mounts, as the dissonance of charged particles
Positive and negative builds up
In beating temple and swollen chest,
In clenched jaw and fisted hands
Until you cannot wait

This blessing embraces all that follows:
Freedom flowing like wind over tongue
Rush of carbon dioxide expelled outward
Letting go of tension
Heavens torn apart and split wide
And everything imprisoned pours forth
Loud and pounding as drums in your ears
Percussive as thunder from the heavens
Vivid as strange strikes of lightning
And immediate as vision veiled by the torrent that falls

This blessing calls your focus
Here and now
On what you locked away
And what you liberated
As the pressure equalized
So you could breathe again

 

Blessing for the Long Haul

Blessing for the Long Haul © Gail Doktor – July 2018

Sometimes the distance seems impossible
Between start and finish
Between departure and destination

Yet this blessing folds itself among your belongings
Tucked within easy reach
To be called upon as needed
When the road is long and miles accumulate
When the mind needs a story to stay attuned
When the heart needs a leap to keep going
When the body requires a drumbeat to set the pace

This blessing believes
You will arrive
And it has kept you company
All along the way

Blessing on the Passage

This blessing begins where the path starts
Not on the map or GPS
Not with the arrow or pulsing dot
That says ‘You are here.’

This blessing starts inside
The deep places of the question itself
Beyond promise
Of a familiar destination

This blessing is born
In the restlessness that urges
Your steps along the way
From being to becoming

This blessing does not presume
You know what comes next
But keeps pace with your beating heart
And steady breaths

This blessing accompanies you
As assurance that you
Are already en route
On a path past longitude and latitude

This blessing stays close as
Each footfall meets an earth
That rises up to press against
Your sojourner’s sole

And this blessing
Grabs tight to stone and soil
With roots like ancient fingers
To hold the Way open

 

Day 5 of Lent: BRING

Today’s excerpts from scripture can cause us to ponder, what do we bring into this season? What do we carry with us, in our minds, bodies, and hearts? Are these things we bring gifts or burdens?

The challenge, ultimately, is to bring all aspects of ourselves into relationship with our community, our creation, and our Creator. All of ourselves … the parts of which we’re really proud and the parts we hide out of hurt, fear or shame.

Part of the opportunity today is to consider that sometimes the things we bring into a relationship with ourselves, our community, our larger world, and our God may serve as both blessing and burden. In this way, we may be able to re-frame how we understand and engage certain concerns or celebrations.

We can consider bringing our whole selves in different ways:

  • Part of what we bring into this season is a gift of ourselves to others … stretching or offering more of ourselves as a gift … so let’s name these blessings we’re making available. We make this offering to be more present (in some way) to ourselves, to each other, to creation, and to God, following Jesus commandmant to love God, and our neighbors as ourselves (notice the three entities named in this commandment: God, others, self).
    For example, I aspire to offer time set apart just for my family, being emotionally available to people with whom I have intimate relationships by making time to talk and be together, committing to personal wellbeing through practices such as better eating and walking daily, or being aware and ethical about the environment by using renewable resources such as  a washable cup vs a disposable to-go cup.
  • Part of bringing our whole selves means sharing our burdens or brokenness. And who isn’t burdened or broken somehow? So we can take this chance, during Lent, to bring these concerns and vulnerabilities to our community and God also.
    I confess, in my own life, a few of these tendencies and ask for support around them. I acknowledge my preference to be anxious and controlling when I need to relax and collaborate. I admit that I get quiet and withdraw, faltering in consistent communication where it’s most needed, in stressful times. I say right here that sometimes my body’s softness and roundness (all euphemisms for harsher internal critical words I use about myself, like flab and obesity) embarrasses me. I inhale and confess that I avoid being honest and direct when I sense conflict or tension surrounding an issue.
  • Can we share our whole selves, whether we understand these parts of ourselves as gifts or burdens? It’s easier, sometimes, to bring and share our gifts to help and support someone else than to bring and entrust our vulnerabilities to someone else’s care.

Allow this season to be a chance to put down burdens, let them go, and give them over to God. feb14_lent5c_bring_steam_trunkThis doesn’t mean we get to set aside accountability. We remain responsible partners in our relationships. Yet we can share the burdens, as well as the gifts.

Let us trust that those gifts we bring will be put to use, and their purpose revealed. And also trust that if we relinquish some of our burdens and concerns, God will hold them with us.

Later we may look backward, and reflect about what committing ourselves fully,  bringing our whole and broken selves into these relationships, renews in us at Lent’s ending. What will we bring away from this season? What insights, personal growth, experiences, healings, or renewals come to us, as we enter into the spirit of exploring and acknowledging our own mortal brokenness? Of trusting and believing we are in the presence of One who loves us enough to bring our lives into God’s own keeping?

Excerpts from today’s lectionary:

  • Deuternonomy 26:10 — “So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.”
  • Romans 10: 15 — And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
  • Luke 4: 1 — Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.
  • Luke 4: 8b — “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only God.’”