The world lives by the blessing of God and of the righteous and thus has a future. Blessing means laying one’s hands on something and saying, Despite everything, you belong to God. This is what we do with the world that inflicts such suffering on us. We do not abandon it; we do not repudiate, despise or condemn it. Instead we call it back to God, we give it hope, we lay our hand on it and say: May God’s blessing come upon you, may God renew you; be blessed, world created by God, you who belong to your Creator and Redeemer.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The world sours,
wrought with dangers,
sinister and taut.


no salve or sieve
on bloody streets-
surreal scenes.

no word
for the anguished mother,
hard sand, bent knees.

no pages of letters
in mailboxes,
on doorsteps,
tucked on windshields,
in the aftermath.

No prose.
Only gravity’s
waves in distant,
silent, space—
Gaping sleeves of vestments

a laying on
of hands.


Image via Universe Today

7 thoughts on “Benediction”

  1. I have this several times and cannot read it enough. Love Bonhoeffer. We have a small group that gathers around our table for fellowship and study and we spent an Advent with “God is in the Manger.” A small book with reflections written by Bonhoeffer, some from Tegal prison – life changing. I could walk through his book every Advent and not exhaust the lessons. Thank you for reminding me what blessing really means, to call me back to loving. And your words, I heard them in my heart.

    Thank you for blessing me. Peace be with you.

  2. Hi Julia, I’m so sorry to post this question here, but I was unable to leave you a comment in the “About” section (when I clicked in the fill-in fields, it just enlarged the picture of you and Audrey–strange). Your post about Sketchbook Skool (from a long time ago!) inspired me to try it! Could you tell me what course you took? I am a bit confused by all of their offerings and thought you might have recommendations. Thanks for inspiring me through your writing (I really hope you write a book one day, your voice is unlike any other I have read and needs to be heard). Thanks for your time!

    1. No problem Alison! Thanks for alerting me to the problem with the About section. So, I took “Beginning.” That was already two years ago. Then I took “Seeing” and “Playing” though I can’t say I finished those! I’m not sure what they’re offering these days though I’m still a part of the Facebook group. Audrey did some of the lessons with me and I bought her all the same nice supplies from the art store (Moleskin watercolor notebook, watercolors, brushes, water brush, ink pens). I really loved “Beginnings.” I got stuck in Seeing because they were teaching self-portraits and I really didn’t like how mine came out! I still do sketch from time to time. I think it goes hand in hand with writing and observing the world. I think everyone can sketch this way- it has nothing to do with talent. Danny, the creator, feels the same. I recommend his new book, “Shut your monkey” which speaks to this. Please don’t hesitate! I may take another one after the summer is over. My plate is quite full right now.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply, that helps a lot. I think they are offering “Beginnings” at the end of September. It’s funny that you say that about the self-portrait, because I saw that assignment and thought, “Ugh, I don’t want to do that.” There is probably a lesson in there somewhere regarding how we see ourselves and our inability to satisfyingly portray that to the world (whether limited by words or art ability).

        I agree with you about drawing and observing being akin to writing. I once taught in a classical school where part of the curriculum was nature study–even for kindergarteners. We gave them all the nice tools just like you did with Audrey. It was amazing how much they noticed and how they improved with that weekly practice. I think it’s even more needed in the tech world we now find ourselves living in.

        Thanks for passing along the name of the book–it sounds interesting. I hope Audrey will be happy and thrive in school this year (long ago I commented on your post about her teacher who didn’t seem to understand her). Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart online, I have grown and been stretched by reading your lovely writing.

  3. Yes! I don’t recommend starting with self-portraits. Beginnings is great- and just the title…Audrey is actually excited about school for the first time! She got a great teacher from what I’ve heard. I did meet with the principal and explain what I thought would help Audrey at school, and I’m lucky that she was very receptive. It’s definitely not easy being an out of the box, creative thinker in the public school system, but I’m encouraged that the home/environment I’ve created for her will prevail over that! Thanks again for your kind words on my writing. I am desperate to get back to it and have been taking notes all summer- but had taken on two part-time work from home jobs plus had Audrey home- and just had no time. There will be an outpouring in the fall!

    1. That’s wonderful about Audrey. I completely understand the struggle, and I applaud you for letting the school and the principal know what she needs. I have two teenagers in public school, one of mine is unique in how he learns and I have learned to be the squeaky wheel (in a kind way–treats and complimentary emails to the teacher help, too–not as bribery, but in a “I’m on your side” way). No one knows her like you do, and you’re correct that your home environment will win out and allow her to be her unique, gifted self! Good job! I’ll be so excited to have new posts from you in my inbox–but no pressure!

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