ARTICLE

An abundance of blessings



I would like to share with you a passage from a book that is shaping my life personally. The name of the book is ?My Grandfather?s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging.? The author, Rachel Naomi Remen, is a medical doctor specializing in oncology, a professor and an author of another best-selling book called ?Kitchen Table Wisdom.? One quote about the author says, ?Where most doctors treat symptoms, Dr. Remen heals souls.?


Dr. Remen?s grandfather, an Orthodox rabbi and scholar of the Kabbalah, saw life as a web of connections and knew that everyone belonged to him, and that he belonged to everyone. He taught her that blessing one another is what fills our emptiness, heals our loneliness and connects us more deeply to life. ?My Grandfather?s Blessings? is about how we can recognize and receive our blessings and bless the life of others.


Here is one example from the book you may feel blessed from reading. It begins, ?Most of us have been given many more blessings than we have received. We do not take time to be blessed or make the space for it. We may have filled our lives so full of other things that we have no room to receive our blessings. One of my patients once told me that she has an image of us all being circled by blessings, sometimes for years, like airplanes in a holding pattern at an airport, stacked up with no place to land. They are there waiting for a moment of our time, our attention. People with serious illness have often let go of a great deal; their illness has created an opening in their lives for the first time. They may discover ways to receive all the blessings they are given, even those that we were given long ago. Such people have shown me how to receive many blessings.?


One woman Dr. Remen cared for had a long stay, over five weeks in the hospital, for her cancer treatment. The woman was wealthy compared to the average patient. Dr. Remen found the patient visibly upset one day. She was crying tears of joy.


?What about?? the Dr. asked.


?I love my robe!? she said. It was an ordinary bathrobe from her home, pink and cotton but nice.


?What is special about that robe?? the Dr. asked.


?Well nothing, really,? the patient replied. ?That?s the thing. I feel like it is such a blessing to have it here with me. It makes me feel at least a little bit like I am at home. You know, I probably have five other robes back at my house and I never notice them. I mean really notice them.? The woman fighting for her life against cancer wondered out loud how many other blessings in her life she hadn?t noticed.


Life has given us many more blessings than we may ever recognize and allow ourselves to receive. I hope you will know that you are blessed and that you will find ways to receive your many blessings and to bless others, too. May you enjoy the beauty of the earth, the laughter of life, the sacredness of tears and the deep joy of love.