I’m not sure where I came upon this expression. It has become such an Adele-ism that I wonder if I made it up; but, more than likely, the truth is that the deeply resonant words became so absorbed and integrated into my psyche that I felt ownership and pride. I felt like they were my very own creation.
Now, as these words reverberate around me, my imagination is taking me out for a stroll:
Don’t those four little words suggest a birthplace outside, perhaps a BBQ under a shaded tree? The adults, clustered in small groups, would be having lingering, heart-filled conversations as the children raced around the yard. Perhaps the sun would be low in a sky that was striated with purples and oranges, and the edges of the day would be worn smooth by the fullness of a good meal, good company and good conversation.
Out of that confluence of connection and communion, a tender confession, dressed as a worry or concern, would bubble to the surface. And someone wise, who understood a bit of both heaven and earth, would offer the words, “Kiss it to God.” The phrase would linger momentarily like the wood smoke before it spiraled its way towards the heavens as a piece of prayer. The words would serve as counsel as well as a plan of action; some might even interpret them as the tiniest of blessings.
That’s how I imagine the phrase came to be. It was born out of an expansive understanding of the cosmos that there are matters that are best handled from something other than a human perspective.
As the expression suggests, the idea is to lightly and lovingly hand over to God that which we can’t control or that which has us twisted up in knots pacing the floor. The phrase underscores those great spiritual attributes of surrender and detachment.
This reminds me of my first-grade teacher, an Ursuline nun named Mother Emmanuel. Mother Emmanuel was so short that by the time we reached second grade, most of us were gaining on her height-wise. However, her short stature notwithstanding, Mother Emmanuel was a pistol. By the time I had reached high school, Mother Emmanuel had lobbied to open a Montessori nursery school on campus; this was a bold step in 1960s Texas.
Mother Emmanuel faced some financial challenges; she didn’t always have the money to cover her monthly bills. She did her powerhouse best to get the nursery school bills paid, but there were months when it would be dicey.
So, being a woman of profound faith, Mother Emmanuel placed the bills under her statue of St. Joseph and knew, without a doubt, that these bills would be covered – and they were, month in and month out. There would be unexpected donations, or a bill would be “miraculously” paid. It never failed, and Mother Emmanuel trusted St. Joseph implicitly; this is how she kissed it to God, or, more specifically, St. Joseph.
Mother Emmanuel operated from a high level of trust and complete faith that everything would work out. For her, everything was always in divine order. This reminds me of the quote of mystic, Julian of Norwich, who wrote, “…all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
“Kiss it to God” says, “Here, God, I can’t handle this, control this, fix this or worry about this problem any more. I am done. I need help. I trust you to handle this in the best way possible. I have stopped trying to problem-solve this sucker. I have reached a wall, a stuck point and can go no further. I place this in your hands.”
And this reminds me of Albert Einstein who told us that we can’t solve a problem with the same consciousness that created the problem. How right he was!
When we kiss it to God, we hand off our problem to God. We have moved out of the human purview and entered into the domain of the divine. We have opened a portal for divine intervention, most likely in ways that we cannot even imagine.
We have also created a shift in the energy; we are no longer hammering the problem with our daily frustration and irritation. We have unwittingly removed our negative energy and created space for flow. The situation was static; now, it is dynamic.
Do you remember the story of the Peace Pilgrim? Mildred Norman was an avowed pacifist and started walking across the U.S. in 1953 in an effort to increase awareness of peace and protest violence and war. In a shirt emblazoned with “Peace Pilgrim,” she walked tens of thousands of miles in her 28 years of pilgrimage.
She made no plans, had no lodging, no food and carried no money. I remember hearing of one incident when it had started to thunderstorm and the Peace Pilgrim called to God. She was directed to a bridge underpass; there she found a large, empty box with a blanket and pillow inside. She relied — as Blanche DuBois said in “A Streetcar Named Desire” — on the “kindness of strangers.” Her every need was met. Clearly, the Peace Pilgrim had, to use my language, kissed her entire life to God.
I recently have been practicing what I preach. When I reach that point of no-return or needing more help that I can muster, much less imagine, I write down my concern and place it on my home altar. I kiss it to God.
And, you know what, God kisses me back.