We moved into our rebuilt townhouse in January 2019 after a devastating fire on July 8th, 2018. I love the new place, I chose colors, rearranged the kitchen to my liking, bought all new furniture, applicances, linens, and basically started over. We kept a couple of dressers and a hutch, that while smoke damaged were ones we couldn’t find suitable replacements. So they are now what we call “distressed” pieces. I still have one spot in our West Wing that needs a piece or a chair to complete the room. We’ll find it someday. We settled in, hung our artwork, and thought we were done.
I however, was still not what you would call “comfortable” living there. I knew that it was fear that another fire would start, or that some other disaster like a flood or hurricane would consume us. It was an uneasy feeling rearing its ugly head sometimes stronger than others but always there. I new that it was a sense of spiritual well-being that was lacking. That I needed. That feeling that you have when you are safe, being held in some unseeable blanket of comfort and security.
And so I decided that what I needed was a blessing of our home. A deliberate, vocal, water sprinkling, covering every nook and cranny house blessing. I asked my good friend and priest The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton to preside at the blessing. Here is what she says about house blessings:
In Christianity, blessing a home is an ancient tradition that can be found in Anglicanism, Protestantism, Orthodox Christianity, and Roman Catholicism. House Blessings are usually performed by a priest who sprinkles holy water as s/he walks through every room of the house, accompanied by the occupants of the house and their family and friends. There is a great tradition in the Anglican church to bless homes during The Season of Epiphany. Many Christians when moving into a new home, or after renovating an old one, like to offer the house to God, and ask for a blessing on those who live within it, or might visit.
Perfect. Just what I wanted, no needed. I needed the invocation of God to come into my home and make it holy. I needed God to make me safe. I needed God to be in my head and heart to feel God’s presence and security. And so, on a devilishly hot Saturday afternoon, forty folks came to witness and participate in our blessings. These were folks who had shared their love, help, and generosity with us during the darkest days after the fire. Who provided us with love, clothing, food, love, meals, items to help with daily living, supportive visits, and did I mention love? They sustained as did the other 70 some folks who couldn’t make the blessings.
It was an afternoon full of the Holy Spirit, full of love, and just the thing I needed to relax, feel safe, and enjoy our new home to the fullest.