The Blessing



Aifa was always shocked to watch her grandmother on the Day of the Blessings. The latter was usually rather reserved and dignified, not in any way prone to extroverted behavior, but it was almost a statement of faith on this particular day to show the Divine Mercy all the joy, good cheer and gratitude one was capable of. Therefore she sang, and she danced, and she laughed, and she partook in the spirits, just as the Day of the Blessings demanded, and expected her granddaughter to do the same. Well, not the spirits part.

“Be grateful, child,” she said. “We are healthy and thriving, our lives are never lacking for joy and winter is soon to be over.” The word ‘winter’ was again drowned in a terrible racket. “Sing and rejoice, and dance with us, so that our communal celebration can be heard far and wide!”

Aifa got pulled in the wake of her grandmother’s glee. She just realized she too was in a good mood, so she asked the latter.

“What about me, doyenne? Don’t you have any blessings for me?”

Grandmother stopped, surprised by the request.

“Of course I do, granddaughter.” She took the girl’s hands in hers, and said, suddenly very serious.

“May you be free, child.”

“Free? But I am free, am I not?” Aifa asked, confused.

“Listen, don’t talk! May you be free: may your purpose never be swayed by need or by fear, may all your wishes be freely granted, may your light always shine brightly to the world and may your voice be heard and respected by all. May you live a long life and may every day of it feel to you like a gift.”

“And that would set me free?”



“Let me ask you something. What is the meaning of life?” grandmother asked.

“Doyenne, I thought I would be the one to ask you this question,” Aifa replied.

“It was a rhetorical question, child. It’s the Day of the Blessings, time for a little flamboyance. Nobody really knows, but we have a vague idea of what it is that darkens our lives, makes them less than we wish they were, don’t we? It is easy to recognize, because you can almost feel its gloom fall over you like a shadow and try to drag you away from your happiness. We have been blessed with the ability to feel its presence, it is a lot harder for people who don’t even realize it exists. In a way we all shade each other at times, we’re all failing humans, but you have to remember one thing, granddaughter: whenever you are in the presence of this darkness your soul is chained. You stop existing to your purpose until you go back into the light. Don’t you live in the shadows even for a second, child! Keep your purpose unstrained by the winds of the world.”

“How do I do that, grandmother?”

“You don’t have to do anything. You just have to know it.”

“But what is this darkness that you talk about, doyenne?”

“It is part of human nature, granddaughter. We are constantly battling our demons, the undesirable outcomes of our own creation.”

(Excerpt from the novel A Year and A Day by Francis Rosenfeld)

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