Saturday we hosted our first small gathering in our new home. There were fewer guests than at one of our typical parties and the focus was not to view a football game, celebrate a birthday or show off a new kitchen. Instead, we gathered to bless our home, room by room. The priest from our church came and brought with him an order of service that had us walk to each room, read a passage together, respond to a scripture and listen to a prayer of blessing.
Shortly before we moved, I started reading a book called To Bless The Space Between Us by John O'Donohue. This book contains actual blessings, but also talks about how we each have the power to bless with the words we use. This idea prompted me to write my own blessings for each of my daughters' rooms. After our priest read the blessing for a child's room, he read the personal blessings for A, B and K.
Anna’s Room Blessing
May this room be a refuge,a place where you do not need to do, but only to be.As you cross the threshold,may all the things you carry be left behind,may all the selves you are fall away,until you are left empty-handed, unburdened, just you.May you rest well here,laugh with friends,and read great books.I ask Father, Son and Holy Spiritto inhabit every nook and cranny of both this room and your soul.Amen.
Bekah’s Room Blessing
May this room be a safe placeto rest,to create,to learn,to be.May it give your soul room toexpand, enlarge and find itself whole.May it be a place will with presence and vitality,a place that lets you nestle in, rest, and ultimately grow.I ask Father, Son and Holy Spiritto protect you here and elsewhere,giving your soul a place to be its best – vulnerable, tender and bold.Amen.
Kate’s Room Blessing
May this room be filled with laughter, joy and imagination.May you entertain friends here,encounter new worldsand grow from a little girlto a young woman.May this room be a place where your voice is heard.May you find peace and rest here,safe and secure in the knowledgethat you are loved by God andthose who live with you.Not for anything you do or don’t do, but simply for who you are.I ask Father, Son and Holy Spiritto fill this room with sacred goodnessand a sense that you can rest and let God be in charge.Amen.
One reason I wanted to have a house blessing is that I have struggled with this move. I've felt responsible for keeping our family stable during a time of great inconstancy. I've been stretched thin as I tried to keep everything normal when each day was atypical. And I've wrestled with my own feelings of unworthiness - that I don't deserve a house this nice, this large, this lovely - alongside feelings of inadequacy as I pressure myself to keep our home in the pristine condition it was in when we took possession.
So as I wrote their blessings, I tried to imagine what I hope my daughters' spaces will be for them and offer those hopes and dreams to God, who is the only one capable of actually making these hopes and dreams reality. Do I feel like a burden was lifted by handing the house over to God through our house blessing? Yes and no. I think it will be a process for me to stop feeling like a snail, carrying my home around on my shoulders. But the first step towards moving from burden to blessing was in publicly offering this home up to God and asking Him to make this home into a place to keep us safe and send us forth to do His work.
Three hours after our house blessing started, our house filled up again. This time, with girls. It was time to host the first sleepover (of many) at our new house. Each daughter was allowed to invite two friends. That sounds reasonable enough, but a house full of nine girls is a tad exhausting, no matter how you handle it. Yet I am thankful. Thankful for the friends who helped celebrate our new house. Thankful for the laughter and energy of girls. Thankful for a house that will accommodate blessings, games, movies, popcorn and life.