When my three grandchildren were little, we would often sit on my couch, and I would read to them from numerous popular softcover books. There was a very lightweight quilt on that couch that we would carefully throw over our laps as the reading session proceeded. We called it the “story blanket.” It added to the fun and magic of those shared moments. The four of us were unified and joyful as we shared the tales about pokey puppies and silly bears and adventuresome spiders. Those were the good old days!
Recently I got thinking about that story blanket and wondering if something similar might be useful in times of stress or anxiety. It could be an actual or even virtual “prayer blanket” or “no-worries blanket” that could be thrown over one or more of us together to offer a respite from discomfort. For a little while, we could distance ourselves from whatever is causing any upset in our lives. Blankets cover up people and things. They provide protection, a measure of warmth, inclusivity, and privacy. Most blankets are soft; so much in our world is abrasive and rough.
With the constant presence of cellphones and computers nowadays, it is not so easy to separate ourselves from outside stimuli. I see people walking, talking, texting, and listening everywhere I go. While it is all done in the name of convenience, there is something to be said for being able to take time to clear one’s head, connect with our loving Father God, and feel a non-technological connection with others. The comfort of the real or imagined “prayer blanket” could give gentle peace a chance.
So many times I hear people say in an effort to comfort others: “We are sending you our thoughts and prayers.” Can that become a stock expression? Do we always really follow through and take the time to think and pray for those individuals as we plow through our busy days and nights?
So let’s frequently pull our prayer blankets over ourselves and be comforted by what St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans (8:38-39):
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.