Blessings A Memoir

There was a final bit of conversation a few days before my father’s passing. As I stood and turned to go, leaving his hospital room to return to New England, only he and I there at the moment, there was acknowledgement of something I had worked out as a young boy and then confirmed through the observation of years.

It was this: my father was a good man to learn from. I had never told him this opinion.

I said, "I learned a lot about how to live by watching you." I was half way to the door, hat in hand, feeling like a thief for leaving early.

Staring off into his memories as he was often wont to do, searching them, he whispered, "Oh?"

It was a surprise. He was surprised. He knew his failings. He knew the disagreement which had separated us a while through his mistake. He knew the other son had been his favorite. He had groped through life as we all do. And I admired him all the more now for this culminating honesty. I answered firmly, "Yes!"

Shall we think a bit about the universal human custom of giving blessings?

It may be the simple gesture of a hand laid on a child’s head or the ornate ritual of a minister with a congregation. It may be a whispered word. It may be a word cried out loud. You may be a saint who stands between the human realm and the divine or you may be a worldly sinner. Whoever you may be and wherever, if love has arisen for that moment in your heart, it is believed you have the power of blessing.

And to receive this power, it seems that no more is required than that we open our defenses.

Perhaps we have a spiritual sensation that love flows like precious oil or sacred water. Perhaps we have a feeling of participating in the infinite divine, of flowing in the universal river of which myth and poetry have so often spoken beautifully, when love overflows our being into a word or gesture freely given, as though moving by its own pure desire. nd perhaps this is all very real.

Shall we believe this is the very substance of existence, this giving and receiving blessings? Shall we believe indeed that we are made to love each other because we are made of love?

If this is so, then there is never any dying.

This is an excerpt from a self-published book titled Comfort For The Bereaved by painter, poet, storyteller and diviner Stone Riley. Stone is active in the local Pagan movement as a Druid and pastoral counselor. Visit Website to contact Stone.