Friday, September 23, 2016

Help! Thanks! and Wow! The Combo Platter

I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from my sister-in-law asking me if I would be willing to say the blessing before the Rehearsal Dinner of my nephew, Andrew, and his bride, Jenny.

I paused.

I'm a big fan of blessings...any kind.
Lord knows we need them...
but I don't really feel like the person who should be giving them out.

But, this was a special ask...and of course, I couldn't say no.
At the end of the conversation there came a reminder,
"You know, Beth, not everyone who will be at the wedding is Catholic, so..."
and the unspoken message that this can't be too preachy...
too religious...
too Jesus-y.

Of course.

Now what?

I was gifted with the blessing of giving a blessing.
I had better figure it out.

It's been 32 days since I broke my ankle...
who's counting?
Which means that my normal gift of thinking deeply in the shower just hasn't been with me.
I'm too worried about not bearing any weight on my ankle in a slippery shower.
All of my focus is on the task at hand...
no time to think.

Like a yoga practice, I usually enter the shower with an intention.
Let my mind tumble it over as the water pours over me...
but all of that had gone out the window with my broken ankle.

After the conversation with Audrey, I tried to think of a simple blessing.
I wanted it to contain the magic of love,
the gift of family,
the power of the sublime mysterious.

In the shower, I was profoundly grateful to see my ankle, however swollen, once again.
My cast was off and I could (slightly) stretch this newborn ankle.
I could shower without a covering over my leg.
I still could not bear any weight...but I felt less broken.

I let the water run down and soaked in thanksgiving.

Thank you!

Thank you Dr. Angel for setting it right.
Thank you bones for slowly healing.
Thank you city for clean, hot water.
Thank you shower and soap and suds.
Thank you.

And that's when I remembered:
Anne Lamott

She's the one who distilled every prayer ever written in any faith into three simple one word prayers:


Her book by the same title had intrigued me...
was it really possible to simplify prayer that much?

For me, for Anne, it was.

And so it came to be that in a candlelit room last Friday night I found the simple words to bless a beautiful couple.

Andrew and Jenny.

Andrew was a Wow from the very start.
My first chance to be an aunt.
A smart, funny, darling guy...who found his match in kind, intelligent Jenny.
Another Wow.
A Wow for the gorgeous spot where you are choosing to marry - Carmel, California.
A giant-sized WOW that both sets of parents are still married and here in this moment, healthy, 
getting to see this gift.
A Wow for the family and friends who traveled so far to be here.
A Wow for love and the magic of connection.
Just Wow.

And then there's Help.
I'm in the middle of the Help prayer almost everyday with this ankle so...
please always remember to ask for Help.
Look at this room, take a mental picture, remember this moment forever...
...because these are your 2am people.
You can ask any of us at any time to come and Help.
We will.
Look at each other and don't be afraid to yell Help!
You will need it...
marriage is like that.

And finally, there is Thanks!
Thank you for this country that lets us gather and keeps us safe and envelopes us in freedom.
Thank you for the careful parenting and love that has always surrounded you both so that you could be ready to find another.
Thank you for health.
For love.
For Anne Lamott and 
three simple prayers...
for blessings and blessed moments.
Thank you for the gift of family and friends.
Most especially, thank you for this moment right now:

A crystal moment of pure love and joy.

Sometimes one simple prayer isn't enough.
Sometimes you need the combo platter...
a deluxe portion of all three.

Last Friday night was one of those times.
Help! Thanks! and a whole lotta Wow!
Thank you for such a gift.
Blessings to you, Andrew and Jenny.