בְּרָכָה (Berakhah)

Photo by Fabrizio Conti

Lately, for the first time, I’ve been having thoughts of scrapping my blog.

Out of nearly four years worth of writing, do I really believe I have produced anything worthwhile?

The logical part of me says yes. I know that I have been vulnerable, courageous, and honest with my words. I have digested my knowledge of chemistry and ecology into morsels of knowledge for the public. I have wrestled in the open, and brought my readers along my journey of finding mental wellness. I have earnestly spun art out of the fabric of my life. I have been generous with my story.

But Gloria, who says your story is anything to be valued? Who asked you to be vulnerable? Why did you bother bringing any of these things into the open? What place do you have at the table?

I’ve been reading about how in the brains of trauma survivors, Broca’s area is shut down, effectively turning off their ability to use language to describe their experience.

What I experienced has been traumatic. And trauma, unlike chemistry, cannot be digested and metabolized by writing another blog post.

I feel unseen. I feel forgotten. It is a pain beyond words.


As a child of God, I know these doubts have no place in my mind.

Yet, language has not been sufficient to fill in the gaps where I know the truth should be.

I look into these empty spaces like how King Jehoshaphat and all of Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord.

Though a great multitude of Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites came against them, and though they were helpless, their eyes were watching God.

And the Lord said to them:

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”

And they bowed and worshiped. And they stood up to praise Him with loud and high voices.

In the morning, Jehoshaphat appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and those who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army:

“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”

Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.

When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of בְּרָכָה, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of בְּרָכָה until this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.

— from 2 Chronicles 20

( בְּרָכָה means ‘blessing’ in Hebrew.)

Lord, how you fill these valleys of my heart like you did for Your children in the Valley of בְּרָכָה. I need not fill them with empty words and desperate affirmations.

You say we do not need to fight, only to position ourselves, to stand, still and fearless, and to watch Your salvation.

What would have been certain death and defeat in the valley, You have turned into victory and blessing.

I live not in the grave, but in Your life, for You give true joy and true rest.

The psalmist writes:

“Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

“You have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
and my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

— Psalm 116:7-9

And between now and eternity, I will bless the Lord, until I enter Your בְּרָכָה, and then forevermore.

2 thoughts on “בְּרָכָה (Berakhah)

  1. wellshrink says:

    So beautifully rendered, Gloria. Your pain is seen and your salvation is there for you in the Lord. Yes! Barukha in Hebrew does mean blessing, and it is actually the name we give to all of our prayers, they are all called Baruchas, because each one starts with the same words, Baruch atah Adonai….Blessed are You, Our G-d. As we use it, it is paradoxical to the meaning in this passage, for the blessing is on the Lord. Yet, of course, we live each moment feeling blessed, ourselves, too, as do you.. We are blessed, no doubt, beyond all that we could deserve. It goes both ways. Shalom.

    Liked by 1 person

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