Do you ever have those days when, frankly, you’d rather just stay under the duvet? When the prospect of the day is devoid of joy and positivity?
We don’t admit to it very often, and even more rarely admit the real depth of that feeling. Even though we’re much better about talking about our feelings these days than twenty and more years ago, for many people (especially those over a certain age) it’s still quite difficult to do so.
This is where the psalms can be so very helpful. As can the Jewish tradition of blessing God for all things. As the rabbi said in Fiddler on the Roof, there is a blessing for all things! But we need to get the focus of the blessing right. It’s not about blessing the thing, it is about blessing the Giver, who is God.
It’s amazing how speaking a blessing can transform our attitude and feelings toward something. On the mornings when my duvet has seemed so appealing, but I know that my daughter needs me up and about, I begin by saying “Blessed are you O Lord, God of our ancestors, King of the Universe, for bringing me to this new day.” Even though it’s 530am and far too early (for me, there is only one 6 o’clock in the day!) somehow that blessing changes my feelings.
I then find other things to bless God for – hot water usually is next. Most of us take hot showers for granted, but anyone who has stayed at the monastery of Taize in France will know that by 6am all hot water is long gone. Blessed be God that I can have a hot cup of tea. And breakfast. For my daughter who gives the best cuddles in the world. That I have a car to take my daughter to school. That I have a dog who welcomes me with utter exuberance and love each morning, and throughout the day.
And slowly but surely, that desire to hide under the duvet in grumpy isolation dissipates. I’m not saying that everything is suddenly sunshine and roses, but I am at least appreciative that there are good things in my life, instead of taking them for granted and being blind to them.
Blessed are you O Lord, God of our ancestors, King of the Universe, for all the blessings that you have given me.
Next time you have one of those days, try blessing God for all the tiny things in your life and around you that are good. It doesn’t take away the rubbish, the hurt, the grief, the sadness. But it can bring a little perspective. And suddenly instead of only seeing the bad, we can become aware that there is some good – however small – tucked away in little corners all around us. And maybe those good things will be enough to help us through today.
As for tomorrow, well Jesus had a very wise comment about that too (Mt6.34): do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.