And now for a little etymology because I am feeling hurt and blessed at the same time so thank goodness I speak more than one language. In English we talk about our blessings, which comes from the old English blod or bled, blood. Something that is consecrated with blood is blessed. As a woman, I’ve thus been blessed a good 446 times in my life. Consecrated with blood. What a blessing. Bless you.
But in French blesser means to injure or harm. My son’s French worksheet said: Il y avait quatre ____________ dans l’accident, mais heureusement pas de __________. He wrote morts for the first and blessés for the second because he hates being normal but what an odd phrase. So his sentence read, there were four deaths in the accident but luckily no injuries. I’ve always liked the French word, it carries a tenderness in sound, blessure, whereas the English injure is just rougher. Injure is also a word in French but much more on the metaphysical plane, and frankly sometimes those injuries to the soul hurt as much as the gaping wounds inflicted by dull knives.
The above image is the illustration for blesser from a French dictionary. Ow my heart, it hurts as she leaves. From what I can gather the French word comes from an old Provençal word which means to bruise, to tenderize, to soften, like for meats or fruits. When the French talk about blessing, the word is bénir which still very much retains its religious sense, like benediction. Its etymology is so simple, saying bien, good, putting the bien on something as opposed to malédiction, saying the bad, the mal.
So, my friends, we are all debating whether there is a silver lining, a new reality, a blessing in the blessure as it were. I do not know the answer. What did you learn from all your pain and suffering? I had over 400 periods in this lifetime. Some were tragedies, some were blessings, some were annoyances, some were forgettable and some were frightening. I do not know if this time of confinement and panic and fear has silver linings. It seems like too much and it seems easy for someone in a quiet sunny apartment who just ate three delicious blood oranges to think good will come.
My life has just not made that much sense and I don’t always know where I can separate the hurt from the wisdom, or the great gift from the blood required to get it, or screws in my knee from friends for over thirty years. So I go back to my books of comfort, dictionaries, and I think that yes, this time is a blessing for some, for the air and the birds, for those who survive and yet it is a terrible terrible blessure for society, for the isolated and underserved, and for so many that we do not yet know. And maybe the French peasants had it right, maybe most of all this is a time of meurtrir, bruising or wounding, like they did to the olives and the fruits to hasten their ripening, or maturing as one says in French. The softest fruits are the sweetest, some wounds are a blessing, any good blessing carries the mark of blood, if only in its linguistic past. Bless you.