He loves trucks, tractors and all forms of transportation. When he saw the mixer truck he told his momma, that orange mixer truck looks like the sunrise. My daughter’s text to me said how can a toddler be so strangely poetic? Good question, maybe it’s a spark.
One of the mystical teachings of Judaism according to the Kabbalah, is that in the beginning of things, the Holy was broken up into countless sparks, which were scattered throughout the universe. Rachel Naomi Remen writes, there’s a God spark in everyone and in everything, a sort of diaspora of goodness. God’s immanent presence among us is encountered in the most simple, humble and ordinary ways. The Kabbalah teaches that the Holy may speak to you from its many hidden places at any time. The world may whisper in your ear, or the spark of God in you may whisper in your heart. From My Grandfather’s Blessings
Remen’s beautiful writing goes on to encourage us to listen, to see those sparks and to bless them. Her grandfather, evidently, was a master of the small blessing. The art of blessing has to do with recognizing and acknowledging the sparks of God when they show up. Blessing something evokes its wholeness and Holiness.
Maybe you have noticed that the world does not seem all that gentle or Holy or life giving lately. Maybe you’ve observed the violence, the tearing down, the vitriol we seem to feed on. Maybe you’ve noticed how easy it is to be against, divided, judgmental and combative. Maybe all this wears you down, exhausts you and makes you want to give up.
This teaching of ancient Judaism counters that with something as small as a spark and an invitation to bless the spark.
If you see a sparkle of good, kindness or hope, bless it. Call it out. Name it. Claim it. Breathe on it so it can grow brighter. Another teaching is that we can counter the evil in the world by just facing it down with good.
Say to the toddler, Yes that orange truck looks just like a sunrise! What a beautiful smart boy you are. Then, text it to your mom so she can feel the same spark and write a blog about it.
Witness an act of love or kindness? Feed that to your Twitter account. Speak to the stranger. PIck up that trash in the street you know isn’t yours. Bless someone today with your words or your actions.
What if those mystics are right and the Holy really is divided into countless sparks hidden in unlikely people and places? What if our job is to see, to listen and to bless?
A long time ago, I had just received hard news that my five year old needed surgery when my baby son, slid off my lap and bloodied his lip on a table across from me. I retreated to the hosptial bathroom and melted. A woman came in I did not know. She looked at me, at him and said, Give him to me now. She cleaned him up, comforted his cries and handed him back to me and said, Mom, I don’t know what is happening with you today but you will make it through. You son is beautiful and you are doing a good job. She saw me. She fanned the spark of capable motherhood in me when I needed it. She blessed me.
I still remember.
Who will you bless today?
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, a wife, a mother of three, a Mimosa to Keller and Pace and a breast cancer survivor. You can sign up to receive her Inner Circle monthly emails at http://www.drcindyryanblog.com/circle. You are invited to check out all the upcoming speaking dates listed there . All are open to the public.