Recently my friends and I were discussing the word “bless.” Few people seem to use the word. Is it because it’s a Biblical term? One friend confessed to not really knowing what the word means. Another – and probably many of us – felt that blessing is something that comes from some authority “down” to us, as in a benediction.
My unabridged thesaurus has a couple dozen terms for it under “sanctity,” probably the least used meaning of our word. It’s possible we avoid it because we feel that we don’t have any right to use it, that we’re just folks, without the proper prestige to bless anyone. Just as an aside, there are many Biblical instances where the people are invoked to bless God: “Bless the Lord, O, my soul.”
Actually I beg to differ with my friends’ initial positions. The fact is, when someone does something for me that brings me a measure of relief during a stressful time – even something small for them – I find myself saying, “Bless you!” Often I receive a grateful, if surprised, smile. However, when I said it, it was heartfelt. Many small, pleasant surprises elicit the same response in me. When anyone does me a favor, or when I receive an email with a note of warmth in it, I feel blessed, and often sign my reply with, “Blessings – ” I find it a meaningful way to thank people. And thanking God frequently (or through thanking others) is a major factor in making me happy.
It seems to me that we spend too much of our lives trying to be too careful in the name of political correctness. We hold back anything personal in us from most others, perhaps from anyone at all. How sad! Why can’t I let the world see just a spark of my essence? Who does it hurt? Does it make me truly vulnerable? Or is that just a passing assumption that may or may not be true?
Many people feel that the world is in dire straits. At a time like this, how can it hurt to offer a kindness to another person? I’ve never had a negative response from anyone who received my blessing, because they were aware that they gave to me first. I wonder if giving thanks may not be a way of reminding ourselves of all that we do have, and discriminating just how valuable many small gifts are to us.
Perhaps you’ll want to try it. Because I’m grateful for you and your willingness to read my work – whether you agree with me or not – I need to leave you with “Bless you!”