We have this little box with a sliding lid that we keep prayers for dinner in. I made it years ago when the older kids were younger and we were just starting a tradition of saying a blessing before dinner. Some of the prayers the kids made up over the years and others I collected from books. We have an old standby that we use at most meal times now, but years ago each child was given a night where it was their turn to choose and recite the blessing before dinner. Lately we have mostly used the blessing box when we have visitors and want to give them the honor of choosing the blessing.
So it sits tucked away on the counter. Two year old Paul has found it a few times lately. He has set it on the table, slid back the top and proceeded to empty and spread out the 4″x4″ white card stock blessings. He’s been pretty good with putting them back in, so I haven’t said too much. Today he did it again and his brother Gus, who is almost 4 years old, got in on the action. Eventually the cards fell to the floor in a messy pile. I cleaned them up and put away all but one. Gus had it and when I asked him to hand it to me he tightened his grip on it instead and shook his head no. I tried sweet talking him a little, but he just did not want to give it up, so I let him wander around the house with the blessing while he made his own particular type of toddler mahem. Later in the day, I found it laying on the table. Curious I went to find out which blessing he had chosen…
It couldn’t have been more relevant.
Our world today is very nearly screaming to give voice to the voiceless. For the tween/ teen trying to figure out how to fit into the world and feel safe using the thoroughly vulnerable space of a public bathroom, for women and the inherent inconvenience of fertile bodies that can derail plans and opportunities, or worse. For the very littlest of us just beginning the journey of this world deep inside our mothers. For the people who come to our country for opportunity, to escape poverty and war, who take risks we can hardly fathom for a chance at life and end up vulnerable without the rights the rest of us are born with.
For all the people our hearts bleed for, for the lives our eyes see, the people whose plights we relate to, for the circumstances that touch our families, the people that touch our hearts…
For my almost 4 year old son Gus, who has Down syndrome, a funny, sweet, great little problem solver, whose words, while they are surely making progress are far far behind most his age.
Reading that blessing he clutched in his hands all afternoon nearly took my breath away today…
“Dear Father, hear and bless
Thy beasts and singing birds,
And guard with tenderness
Small things that have no words.”
I read it and I prayed it. And I know it is a prayer you pray in some way too…
With love from the silent mountains of Vermont,