Over the weekend we attended a wedding at the edge of a large rock outcropping on Cleary Summit, about an hour outside of Fairbanks. We were surrounded on all sides with spectacular views, including a lightening strike across the valley. Lynn served as marriage commissioner (in Alaska anyone can serve in this role once a year). As the young man is from a Quaker family and considers that his spiritual home, if any, they had approached us earlier this year to talk about the possibility of a Quaker wedding. The young woman is Jewish and wanted some element from her tradition included as well. After much discussion they settled on a ceremony that included a brief period of silence (a nod to Quakerism) and a reading of the Seven Blessings for marriage from the Jewish tradition.
During the ceremony, Lynn said, “We’ll start with a reading of seven blessings from the Jewish tradition, blessings that offer joy, prosperity and harmony to this unique relationship. A wonderful thing about a blessing is that it’s always given with the best intent. It’s for when you truly wish for another’s happiness. A blessing is always and necessarily an act of love. “
Today I’ve been pondering the meaning of “blessing.” I frequently sign off on a letter or a message with “Blessings.” Some people may be offended by this closing term, associating it with what a priest might say and do. While one meaning of the word is to “sanctify, or make sacred,” in my world, anyone can offer a blessing to another, and I agree with my husband’s definition. So I offer blessings to anyone reading this.