I sat across the table from her, my friend of many years, and she blesses me with her words.

You matter to me, she says. You make a difference in my life.

She looks me in the eye, and locks me up right there with her words and her straight-from-the-heart friendship. She changes me. Her bestowed blessing changes me then, and forever. Her love is all that the famous passage states it should be in those words penned in that letter to the Corinthians, way back then.

Love is patient and kind, I read in that ancient book, and I look up the words in the greek and I wonder how to love my home, patiently and kindly. To do patience and to do kindness. I think of my friend’s blessing, and I wonder if this holds some kind of key.

Patience, I learn, is about enduring, about doing it for as long as it needs to be done, and kindness is about service, about being gentle, about the bestowing of blessing. And it makes all kinds of sense to me that these words are so often linked.

Doing patience. Doing kindness. I don’t often think of my home this way. I think of how she serves me, how she serves my family with walls that keep out the winter winds and the comfort of her warmth and her security. But I’m thinking, today, that I must serve her too.

And I’m thinking that it must be more than duty. Duty might get the job done, but duty isn’t love.

I’m thinking of my home today, on a windy, cold Saskatchewan winter day when Grandma and Grandpa are visiting. They come into my kitchen with arms full of groceries and luggage and smiles and hugs, and before we can catch our breath, Grandma is up to her elbows in flour and butter and sweetness. She blesses us with cinnamon buns and pies and their good smells fill the house.

As she works, we visit and laugh and stop for coffee, and I know it’s more than a job to her. She is loving us with this work she is patiently and kindly doing. And that is what turns the simple food into a beautiful blessing. This is not duty. This is love.

Today I bestow a blessing on my home. I thank her for all she means to me. I thank her for her steadfastness, for her shelter, for the way she keeps stuff out and keeps stuff in. I recognize how much it means to me to have this place of comfort and warmth in which to raise my family and live these lives.

Today, as I work within this space I do so as lovingly as I can. I try patience and kindness out, and it seems right and good.

Bless this house, O Lord we pray,
Make it safe by night and day . . .

Bless these walls so firm and stout,
Keeping want and trouble out . . .

Bless the roof and chimneys tall,
Let thy peace lie overall . . .

Bless this door that it may prove,
Ever open,
To joy and love . . .

Bless these windows shining bright,
Letting in God’s Heavenly light,
Bless the hearth, the painting there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer!

Bless the folk who dwell within,
Keep them pure and free from sin . . .

Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord to dwell with thee . . .

Bless us all that one day we may dwell,
O Lord! With Thee!

Words and Music by Helen Taylor and May H. Morgan ( a.k.a. Brahe ), 1927