Welton Gaddy tells this story:
I think of a little girl who told Henri Nouwen that she needed a blessing. At the time the great author was working among severely challenged children in Canada. Instinctively, Henri touched the little lady’s head with the sign of a cross. “No,” she responded immediately, “That doesn’t work. I want a real blessing.”
Later, during a group session, this same little girl walked over to Henri and laid her head on his chest. The sensitive priest took the little girl into his arms, enfolding her in his clerical robe and saying, “Janet, I want you to know that you are God’s beloved daughter. You are precious in God’s eyes. Your beautiful smile, your kindness to the people in your house and all the good things you do show us what a beautiful human being you are. I know you feel a little low these days and that there is some sadness in your heart, but I want you to remember who you are: a very special person, deeply loved by God and the people who are here with you.”
No sooner had Nouwen spoken the last word, than every child in the room rushed to him saying, “I want a blessing.”
Gaddy concluded: We all do!
Source: Welton Gaddy, ‘Blessed to Bless’, Northminster, 12 August 2008
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: Henri Nouwen and friend.