The Blessing of Hairy Toes

hairytoes

 

“May the hair on your toes never fall out!”
— J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit (Thorin Oakenshield addressing Bilbo Baggins)

 

homer81014

 

It’s a safe bet my toes and your toes have never been subjected to a blessing.   But I like the idea of being blest starting from the bottom up,  encompassing my most humble and homely parts first.

The world would be a better place if we rediscovered the art of bestowing blessings–those specific prayers of favor and protection that reinforce community and connection to each other and to something larger than ourselves.   They have become passé in a modern society where God’s relationship with and blessing of His people is not much more than an after-thought.   Benedictions can extend beyond the end of worship services to all tender partings;  wedding receptions can go beyond roasting and toasting to encompass sincere prayers for a future life together.

But let’s start at the very beginning: let’s bless our hairy toes.

That is a very good place to start…

 

homer818

 

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” 
— Flannery O’Connor

 

toes

 

May you always have…
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire

May those who love us, love us;
and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts;
and if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles
so we’ll know them by their limping.
Traditional Irish Blessing

 

homerroller

A Good Tale

sunsetjuly7
Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien from “The Hobbit”
To distract myself on our recent long overseas flight, I (re)watched the first of “The Hobbit” movie series and was, once again, transported to Middle Earth and the adventures of Bilbo and Gandalf and company, completely forgetting that I was flying 40,000 feet over the real earth.  This made 170 minutes go by quickly with only a moment or two of turbulence to bounce me back to reality.
I have never been a big fan of fantasy fiction full of violent battles with life and death struggles with forces of evil.  The real world is brimming with enough such stuff and reading about it or watching it on a screen is not my first choice for relaxation.  Ever since I was a child I wanted to stay put, quite content, in the Shire to avoid adventure beyond the borders;  like Bilbo, I can see no point whatsoever in leaving Rivendell on one quest or another.
But real life forces us beyond the borders of the “good things and good days” — the uncomfortable, the palpitating and even the gruesome await us all, when we least expect it, and we must, like Bilbo, rise to the occasion.   I’m unsure such times always make for “a good tale” but nevertheless they are the tales we share with our children in order to prepare them for their own inevitable difficult times.
It surely takes a deal of telling.  May we never cease to share the good tale.
twins

A Hairy Toes Blessing

“May the hair on your toes never fall out!”
J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit (Thorin Oakenshield addressing Bilbo Baggins)

It’s a safe bet my toes and your toes have never been subjected to a blessing.   But I like the idea of being blest starting from the bottom up,  encompassing my most humble and homely parts first.

The world would be a better place if we rediscovered the art of bestowing blessings–those specific prayers of favor and protection that reinforce community and connection to each other and to something larger than ourselves.   They have become passé in a modern society where God’s relationship with and blessing of His people is not much more than an after-thought.   Benedictions can extend beyond the end of worship services to all tender partings;  wedding receptions can go beyond roasting and toasting to encompass sincere prayers for a future life together.

But let’s start at the very beginning: let’s bless our hairy toes.  That is a very good place to start…

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.”
Flannery O’Connor

May you always have…
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire

May those who love us, love us;
and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts;
and if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles
so we’ll know them by their limping.
Traditional Irish Blessings

Prayer for a Little Child
by Winifred M. Letts

God keep my jewel this day from danger;
From tinker and pooka and black-hearted stranger.
From harm of the water, from hurt of the fire.
From the horns of the cows going home to the byre.
From the sight of the fairies that maybe might change her.
From teasing the ass when he’s tied to the manger.
From stones that would bruise her, from thorns of the briar.
From evil red berries that wake her desire.
From hunting the gander and vexing the goat.
From the depths o’ sea water by Danny’s old boat.
From cut and from tumble, from sickness and weeping;
May God have my jewel this day in his keeping.