I've started many a day reading from John O'Donohue's "To Bless the Space Between Us." I recently turned to this book of blessings to find some solace as I grappled with the transitions I was witnessing in my gender-non-conforming children, but none of O'Donohue's poems really captured the challenges that I and many parents I know have been encountering. So I took up my pen and wrote my own.
My first intention was to bless my children.
O'Donohue writes about the "inestimable power of intention," saying, "We have no idea the effect we can actually have on one another. This is where blessing can achieve so much. Blessing as powerful and positive intention can transform situations and people. The force of blessing must be even more powerful when we consider how the intention of blessing corresponds with the deepest desire of reality for creativity, healing, and wholesomeness. Blessing has pure agency because it animates on the deepest threshold between being and becoming; it mines the territories of memory to awaken and draw forth possibilities we cannot even begin to imagine!"
I believe that all children crave their parents' blessings for those possibilities that exist in their dreams and aspirations, romantic relationships, and how they make their way in the world. I know that has certainly been true for me. But these blessings are not always forthcoming or maybe even possible. For those who are bravely challenging the traditional precepts around gender and sexuality, a blessing over their journey is a precious gift and an act of unconditional love, no matter who it's from. Because they, like anyone else, want to be seen, named, accepted, loved, cherished, and belong for who they really are.
I have been so buoyed by the outpouring of love and support and the many poignant stories shared by other parents and friends in recent days. Your words have been such a balm and a blessing to me! I can see now how the gift of blessing is one I can give, not just to my own children, but to anyone traveling a similar path. I may have written this with my own children in mind, but I offer it freely to anyone who may find it affirming:
May your new way of being
be illuminated by the light of your soul.
Honoring the sacredness of your body
and your tender unfolding,
you can now move through the world
with newfound brightness and ease.
Cherish your own joy and satisfaction,
as you long for the acceptance of others.
If they are slow to embrace this new you,
who you are meant to be,
be gentle with the one who needs it most
and revel in the justice of self-compassion.
Safeguard your inclusion with kindness
in a community of true belonging.
For those whose identity is challenged by yours,
muster the courage to meet them
with the dignity and respect
you command for yourself.
Be willing to mine for authenticity
time and again throughout your precious life.
Know that you are far more
than any aspect of your identity,
any rejection you must endure,
any label you might assign.
Celebrate the essence of who you are!
For you were created by One
who invites this transformation
in a world ever-changing,
who offers constancy in Love.
And when your gaze is clouded
by doubt or uncertainty,
loneliness or grief,
You are not alone as you brave this threshold
between your being and your becoming.