Archives for posts with tag: blessings

While in Chiang Mai, we visited the Buddhist temple where my family worshipped. We brought food and an offering of money to the monk, and in return asked for the blessing we so needed. “Pour the water,” the monk said, and as we poured, he chanted, the words running with the water. I recognized words and phrases and our family name: Koslaphirom. “America,” he said. The words flowed and flowed until the water ran out. He stopped and bowed. We thanked him, then stepped out into the physical world again.

Blessings tumbled down on us

as water filled a bowl,

the monk chanting words,

rhythm of flowing water.

Outside, cars sped by,

people hung laundry over

balcony railings.

Cats walked languidly

across the courtyard and

fish darted about in their

watery kingdom – an urn

on the stone steps.

Inside the temple, the

blessings flowed onto

my pink-cheeked son, plump

with young blood, and

my mother, cancer cells

coursing through her veins.

And blessing reached across town,

to where my father was wheezing

in his hotel bed, hooked up

to an oxygen tank, tethered

still to our world.

Blessings poured over memory –

of Grandfather, long gone,

though we reached for him.

Grandmother, too, and my

oldest aunty, and others I

have never known. Blessings

flowed, chant like, waking

us with a splash of water

and the presence of

each other, everywhere.

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Sadly, we hear of bombings every day, usually in far away places. Today one terrified many people in Boston. When stories like this come close to home, we begin to relate to the panic and fear that violence creates. Hopefully, we feel more human in our need to connect with people and find the goodness in each other, even in the midst of such terrible acts. This is a story of a bombing that happened in Chiang Mai during World War II. Many years later, my Aunty learned that she was born just before this bombing and that in the confusion, her birth certificate was not recorded until much later. No one could remember her true birthdate. The one she has is just a good guess. Even more significant than losing track of her birthdate, was her family losing track of her, a newborn baby, in the panic on the day of the bombing. This story is how I imagine that day, the blessings to be found in it, and the things we can count on even when the world seems to be falling apart.

 

Imagine this, now, in your comfortable life:

A family preparing for a faraway war

to come crashing into theirs.

They did not want this stone of fear.

Preparation comforts some:

an underground shelter, food, a plan.

But when the rumbling came anyway,

imagine the panic.  Scurrying

underground, taking meaningless

things, forgetting the important.

Among them, a baby, newborn, nameless.

When the mother had gathered all

the children underground, and then

realized what she had left,

she turned.  The ground shook

and children cried.  Imagine

the choice – when have you

had to make such a choice?

When it grew quiet, they all emerged

into air and light –

these things were still theirs,

and the baby, too, alive.  But

what she had seen above, they

had all missed in their dark hole –

that though the ground shook,

her small view of the sky remained the same,

that from where she lay, the

sky stayed true.  Imagine, then,

the square of sky the baby girl watched.

It, more than anything, you can.