J. Ruth Gendler's 1984  The Book of Qualities  is a collection of personified human characteristics. Each one gives new and imaginative meaning to familiar words, drawing on images of life that are intimate and moving. As I've been settling into fall, making space, and attempting to slow down, I've been considering the words in this book. The entry below particularly spoke to me.
  Devotion
"Devotion lights candles at dusk. She braids her grandmother's hair with an antique comb. She works as an ecologist, and wears long flowing tunics with bright cotton pants. She has never taken a dance class, but she moves with an unstudied grace, sensitive to the edges where her body meets the air. 
 
Devotion balances periods of great stillness with times of movement and exuberance. She has prayed in many temples and seen evidence of God in unlikely places. She keeps a postcard of Saint Francis above her desk. A Yemenite amulet hangs in her window. Always she remembers to honor the mother." 
 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi  

~ Melanie Marsh Baum

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