In Jewish tradition, a person should recite 100 berakhot every day. That’s 100 blessings.
So you are not Jewish. Or you are. And you think maybe a blessing is something like prayer. Or gratitude. Maybe it’s different too. Maybe it’s noticing the azalea bush at the foot of the stairs and the way its blossoms began as thin green threads and now, after their full explosion, rest like a grandmother’s hands against damp leaves.
Maybe it’s also praising the rain.
A blessing is all these things. It is also more. You discover this prism of a definition somewhere deep inside the recitation. You also stumble out on its leading edge, that one you can only reach by covering ground that you hadn’t considered taking before.
Start with 1 (the public library). Then 2 (the co-worker who always cracks a joke). Lurch and resist your way to 10 (the grandparents, long dead, whose welcome and affection was so complete, you took it completely for granted).
Catch your breath.
When you get to 25 (the neighbors who stop to say hello even when your head’s down and you’re radiating leave me alone and they choose friendliness anyway) you realize you’re one fourth of the way there. You’ve hit your stride. This pace is a marvel. You thought when you started that that there’s no way, not enough good things, and never enough time to get them all in.
By 26, you begin to lift your gaze up and out of yourself (the teachers and the volunteer parents too). From there to 50, your radius spools out across the community (the folks who volunteer on weekends to rip the invasive shrubs from the park). By 51 (the friend raising funds for RAIN for Sahel & Sahara and the locals there who dig the wells), you’re spanning the globe.
Catch your breath.
Then cut the line and let it go.
Because you’ll look everywhere you’ve looked every day for years and see what you’ve never seen quite this way.
There will be 72 (Margot’s health)
And 75 (the field of buttercups behind Bob Evans)
And 80 (the way he let me cry and touched my face)
And 81 (all the women who’ve done it on their own and shown the rest of us we can)
And 92 (the web of bus and metro lines that WMATA workers map, maintain, and drive to get us where we need to go)
And 93 (the neighbor who sends a call out condo community listserv anytime there’s a lost dog in the neighborhood, and offers to lead up the search)
And 97 (a break in the clouds after days of rain).
Catch your breath.
Then toss it over the sky and let it sail its way
to 100 (the welcoming arms of this home).
You will see the multitudes, and marvel. You will find yourself dancing in the living room and swiveling your hips right around the most stubborn ghosts. You will turn towards your dear one and listen to what’s inside the words. You will lift every blessing up into your throat and let it become the truth. You will pause there before speaking, and when you do, it will be with a voice already lit with song.
Image: “Spring Rain” by Julie Cady Ryan
8 thoughts on “100 Blessings”
THAT is amazingly inspiring. I’m going to try it. 100 is a huge number, when I often can only find one or two positive things but as you said – if you just look at EVERYTHING its there. I’m going to try it.
It’ll make your day!
You remarkable you. Thank you. You number in there a few times.
breathtaking. I nodded my head in agreement throughout. paused. raised my face and acknowledged my own blessings. I have a huge grin on my face. & thankfully aware of blessings
100! You’re a marvel. What a daunting challenge. I love the last line and the poetry in comparing blooming flowers to a grandmother’s hands.
What a lovely thing to do. I ask my daughter every night before bed what made her happy that day and what she is grateful for. It’s a nice habit to get into.