The Blessings Bench

Dear Reader:

I was actually sitting on my old yellow garden bench yesterday morning when I was able to capture this beautiful picture of a butterfly (moth, Cindy?) in my garden….and I thought of all my blessings. This thought led me to the idea of a blessing bench and from that thought… it was just a quick hop back to Anne’s beautiful bench of rest and repose where one can gather strength to begin counting blessings again.

From your wonderful ideas on naming the bench….one commonality stood out….the idea of a place where one goes for rest, repose, and reflection…to remember our blessings…past, present, and future.

If I didn’t comment on your suggestion or idea it probably came after two 0’clock yesterday afternoon…that is when I left to go to Conway to visit my brother and attend a talk by a Vietnam Vet who we both knew from college. *Will be returning later today and will be excited about reading any other ideas for titles of the beautiful watercolor you might have added… will include them in the Wednesday’s post.

To date (before I left) some of your ideas included:

“Solitude”  “Peaceful Haven” “Resting Place”  “Rest” “Come Sit a Spell”  “Reminisce” 

*Lynn…one of your title ideas  “Come sit a spell” actually popped up between Anne and myself conversing Sunday evening. She had jotted down “Sit a spell” as a potential title…and I had texted back…that I liked “Come Sit a Spell” because it seemed more personal.

It also reminded me of visiting some spinster aunts during my summers growing up. They always greeted mother and myself with a big pat on their garden bench, waving us over to “Come sit a spell” while they served us pink lemonade and lemon cookies…never forgot that…

Everyone’s ideas (circling rest and repose) made me remember some lines from Irish poet, John O’Donohue’s poem on just that subject…these are my favorite lines from it….an excerpt:

For One Who is Exhausted…a Blessing

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.


So until tomorrow….If we find ourselves wanting to curl up in this bench from Magnolia Garden Anne painted…it is because we have just experienced this other stanza from O’ Donohue’s poem.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

This is the week Facebook will be filled with the excited and sometimes anxious little faces of children returning to school. Rutledge’s first day back for first grade was good…Mollie said he was exhausted….too excited to sleep Sunday night…and a little teary-eyed when she left but I am sure it turned out to be a fun day getting to make new friends.


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The Blessings Bench

  1. bcparkison says:

    Bless you. O’Donohue’s words sure do speak to me. It is going on three weeks now that Mother has been out of commission leaving me in charge of Daddy. Lord have mercy on me please. There really isn’t an end in site but with prayer we will carry on. And yes I am exhausted.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I can only imagine how difficult this situation is…like walking on your tiptoes continuously….there is an end in sight but God’s sight….He will get through this and we are praying for you!


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