The English word “blessing” derives from the Old English bletsian and the Germanic blodison, which means to mark as holy with blood. Originally, these words spoke of altar sacrifice involving blood. The connection between blood and blessing fits what I know to be true about life.

It is sometimes bloody. It is often a blessing. It is usually both.

There are some days when we feel we will drown in the exhaustion of trying to stay afloat. Days when we’re teetering on the edge of the world and the weight on our shoulders just might tip us over. Days when blood and blessing are being drained from our limbs and hearts.

A friend recently sent me this blessing from Jan Richardson’s book, Circle of Grace. Her words weave together strength and tenderness, the kind of support I need when I feel like my world is ending. I hope they might offer you the same.

Blessing When the World is Ending

Look, the world
is always ending
somewhere.

Somewhere
the sun has come
crashing down.

Somewhere
it has gone
completely dark.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the gun,
the knife,
the fist.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the slammed door,
the shattered hope.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone,
the television,
the hospital room.

Somewhere
it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.

But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.

It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,

nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.

This blessing
will not fix you,
will not mend you,
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.

It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins
again.