The Cure for Sorrow by Jan Richardson

When You’re Not Feeling Very #Blessed


We don’t live in a culture of blessing. We live in a culture of #blessed. #Blessed is attached to anything from a birth announcement to a new boyfriend, a rental car upgrade to barely there bikini shots.

But all it ends up being is a popularity contest where even the best of us can fall into the comparison trap. Reminders that you were supposed to be PRETTY SPECIAL by now. Aren’t you? How’s that weight loss goal going? Perfectly? No, okay. How about your relationship bliss and spiritual perfection? Also amazing? Wonderful.

But rather than have another #blessed moment that reminds us we don’t need to crack the whip or remind us how our lives haven’t turned out like we expected they would.

We need a blessing. A blessing to say, we are loved, loved, loved as we are. And were yesterday. And will be tomorrow.

Our book club pick this month is The Cure for Sorrow by Jan Richardson. It’s a book of blessings, and it falls like a summer rain over the driest times and places in our lives. And though a blessing seems counter to moments of grief and sorrow, the author writes, “a blessing can help us perceive how heaven infuses earth, inextricable from daily life, even when that life is marked by pain.”

So here’s a bit of perfection from Jan Richardson for today, even on the days where the world deems us mild to moderate failures. This is called, “The Blessing You Should Not Tell Me.”

Do not tell me

There will be a blessing

In the breaking,

That it will ever

Be a grace

To wake into this life

So altered,

This world

So without.

Do not tell me

Of the blessing

That will come

In the absence.

Do not tell me

That what does not

Kill me

Will make me strong

Or that God will not

Send me more than I

Can bear.

Do not tell me

This will make me more compassionate,

More loving,

More holy.

Do not tell me

This will make me

More grateful for what

I had.

Do not tell me

I was lucky.

Do not even tell me

There will be a blessing.

Give me instead

The blessing

Of breathing with me.

Give me instead

The blessing

Of sitting with me

When you cannot think

Of what to say.

There is a peace that settles us when we look steadily at the truth, not pretending life is something it is not.

We may never be able to grasp why something happens or why our life hasn’t turned out like we hoped it might. Why we don’t feel very #blessed.

Life is inexplicably hard. And sometimes the only thing that’s possible, is to just bless life’s every present moment–even, and especially the hard ones.

I hope you’re joining us as we’re reading along in Jan Richardson’s book this month for the Everything Happens Book Club. Discussion questions are available if you want to bring this conversation on what it means to be #Blessed into your small group or while grabbing coffee with friends.

Blessings to you, dear ones.

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  1. I reread the first few chapters of Job the other day and noticed some things as if for the first time: Job’s friends 1) agreed to go together to sympathize with Job and to comfort him, 2) wept for him, 3) sat with him for seven days and nights without saying a word, “ because they saw how great his suffering was”, and they listened. Chapter 4: The friends cease sympathizing, comforting weeping, and listening, and begin making speeches.
    “Give me instead the blessing of sitting with me when you cannot think of what to say.”

    1. WOW, what an incredible observation. That is such a poignant look at Job, and connects so well with our own need for folks who are okay with less talking and more empathizing. Thank you so much for sharing this insight, Kerry. I hope that you have received the blessing of a friend who just sits, and been able to give that blessing as well.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, Barbara. I hope you enjoy this particular piece and Jan’s work as a whole! Would love to know if anything in particular resonates.
      Kilpy, Team Everything Happens

  2. I loved that poem. After 2 rough years and finally getting to the other side those words are what I wanted the whole time things were bad.

    1. Sarah, I so wish you had those words and a friend who embodied them during the days of being not so #blessed. Jan’s work is such a gift, and I’m so grateful you think so too. May you carry this blessing with you always, knowing you are so loved!

    1. Hi Barbara!

      It is actually not something you “join”. Rather, we hope that you’ll read the book over the month at your own pace and engage with others online as much or as little as you like.This keeps the “club” inclusive and free! Kate usually posts a starter video, discussion questions, and sometimes also a podcast or blog post. Throughout the month she asks for audience engagement through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For example, she released a podcast with John Green (and discussion questions about this conversation on the website) and had a live twitter chat at the end of June about Turtles. We are going to be building up more resources and ways to engage in months to come! For now, keep an eye on her social media accounts and website for ways to engage.

      Sorry for any confusion. We are glad you are a part of this!

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