Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Blessing

The word "bless" comes from an Old English word meaning "blood," because blood was used in consecration rituals.

I've always wondered (because I don't think dictionaries and the people who write them are the last word--ha, ha--on etymology and definitions) if "bless" weren't related to the French, "blessure," which means "wound."

What would it be like to consider wounds as something that blesses us? That blood--the river that flows through us--has the ability to make things holy?

Yesterday, while struggling to remove a stubborn plastic lid, I cut my finger open. There was lots of blood, quite freely falling onto the ground.

It's my right middle finger, thank goodness, not one of my left digits--but nonetheless, it threw me for a loop (and makes typing a painful exercise). My hands are my tools, especially because I finger paint.

Granted, there are artists out there who paint with their feet or like the unstoppable Chuck Close, their mouths and specialized forklift things. Andy Goldsworthy, an artist whom I greatly admire, has cut up fingers all the time from the sharp brambles and objects he twists and bends and tears to create his ephemeral sculptures (he slaps some bandages on and keeps working).

I'm not saying I couldn't do that (I gave up brushes to paint with my fingers, I'm sure I could give up my fingers and paint with something else or heck, pick up brushes and pencils again), or that this injury is in any way equal to the challenges of people with physical disabilities and pain. All I'm saying is that my wound gives me pause.

It makes me grateful.

It makes me more determined.

It makes me realize how often my right middle finger is involved in my everyday activities (and it doesn't include giving the bird to obnoxious drivers--they're already in a hell of their own making).

It slows me down to appreciate things I don't usually give myself time (or the patience) to appreciate.

I got back quite a bit for my little sacrifice of blood. I humbly offer it here, my personal blessing.

A Happy New Year to you all, and thank you for joining me on this journey.


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