At the end of my 8-day silent retreat in November, Sister Maria McCoy asked me to pick a blessing from a bunch of folded papers in a bowl. Putting my hand in, out came this first blessing … much to my amused spirit! For over 20 years I have prayed almost every day for the gift of Holy Hilarity (much needed for relief & development workers, even more needed for worn out caregivers.)
“May the God of Laughter be with you, blessing you with the inner joy that calls you to chuckle at your own seriousness; and may your sense of humor lighten your heart and the hearts of those who share your journey. May your laughter bubble over to others, causing them to smile and laugh. May the healing God of laughter gently hold and bless you.”
After praying that blessing, Sister Maria asked me to have another go at the bowl (methinks she put this one near the top for me to ‘pick’…)
“May the God of Tenderness be with you, caressing you with love, gently drawing you into the tenderness of God’s own heart, mellowing you and gentling you as you allow God’s tenderness in you to unfold and blossom. And may the experience of this tender love so transform you, that others become drawn to our God of love. May the blessing of Tenderness be upon you.”
As a juggernaut, make-it-happen relief & development worker, one thing I learned through the care-giving gig with my parents — the “how” really matters. Doing that love thing while mopping up poo (or pee), washing my Mama, or ‘turning’ my bed-fast quadriplegic Papa (which involved slinging him about) – how I did it truly mattered. With love, for love, in love… + humor definitely helped! Taking Mama through ‘the Beauty Shop’ (getting her showered & spiffy clean), Papa loved to hear us giggling.
How I thank God for the gentling of my spirit that made those times with Mama so very special. Despite her crooked back & swollen knees, I know she felt beautiful as we sang hymns & shared joyful times together @ The Beauty Shop. (Not just hymns, we’d also sing, ‘rub a dub dub Mum’s in the tub!’)
So, two special blessings on this Lenten Wednesday: Holy Hilarity enlivened with the love of God… healing laughter & blossoming tenderness.
Virginia : )
*reminds me of the song, “Tenderness” by General Public…
p.s. speaking of silent retreats, i’m zooming off to a silent retreat in South Carolina from Friday til Monday, so once again the Roses in the Rubble post-a-day Lent gig will be interrupted. Hey, prayers welcome – it’s on an island beach @ an Anglican retreat center. Sounds kinda like a hardship hair-shirt place ( :