The book 365 Days of Peace arrived on my doorstep in early summer. A new grandchild had just been born. My dear mom was briefly hospitalized before coming home for her last days. And in the meantime, two grandsons spent a week with us, together doing all the things young boys love to do with their grandparents. A quick flip through the pages of this newly acquired book let me know this might just be what was needed to bless these full days that required a gentle end.
Kantrowitz compiled this volume of benedictions from her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts. They are short offerings of peace for a wide range of the human experience. I was quickly able to mark a few that spoke to my immediate situation: “Peace to those in joy and sorrow tonight. Why do things always have to die as others are being born?” “Peace tonight to those whose loved ones are sick and not getting better.” And many more that I marked for a future blessing or to send on to a friend.
Kantrowitz modeled the benedictions after the evening prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. Like the evening prayer, there is a poetic rhythm in the verses, which gives them a welcoming cadence. Although there are 365 pieces assigned to a day of the year, Kantrowitz encourages a fluid use of the book. She suggests lighting a candle, making a cup of tea and ending one’s evening with a few words of gentleness and peace that speak to the particulars of that day. 365 Days of Peace is unlike any of the prayer and devotional books that I turn to, and so I welcome it in joining my collection. You might find it so as well. (Jessica Kantrowitz)