As a little girl, every night, tucked under a white comforter with blue flowers, flanked by a legion of stuffed animals captained by Consuela, the hard-won-church-festival-game eagle, I said my prayers with my mom.
During the nightly ritual, I got to name and bless each member of the family: each sister, each parent, each grandparent, my great aunt. And sometimes others who were part of our lives. After we said goodbye to some of these people—my dad, my grandparents, Aunt Florence—the naming mingled with tears, the gratitude caught in my throat.
Still we prayed. Gave thanks. Blessed our beloveds.
We marked the day with it.
Although the trappings of prayer have changed for me, the heart of it has stayed the same, boiled down to Anne Lamott’s three essential prayers: Help, Thanks, Wow. This little love letter to you is about all three, and picking a sparkly moment from my past to light our way forward.
I remembered my childhood ritual this past Sunday morning. The night before, in honor of Winter Solstice, Mike and I started spontaneously naming all of our friends and family and wishing them restful sleep and good thoughts. We named my little sister and her twins, giggling about how they had eaten all of the cookies in the Christmas package I sent, we named our friends J & J and their baby on the way (he arrived the next day, raw and pure and beautiful!), Mike’s sweet mom, another friend in the happy sunrise of a long-awaited romance.
I felt so grateful and awed and present naming the people I’m lucky enough to know and love, to share meals and laughs and life with. I loved doing this with the man I especially love, hearing sweet wishes for others from his lips.
Such a simple way to spend ten minutes. So nourishing.
So here’s your FHP activity: some night or every night this week, make your own love roster, name the people you love, wish them well, feel gratitude.
Say a little prayer for them.
And know, as you read this, that I say a little prayer for you, too. Right now. Right here.