Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bless You

I don't know what public etiquette is for saying, "Bless You" when somebody sneezes in public. Do you have to know them or be related to them? I swear it, there are some people who bless a sneeze all the way across five aisles at Publix . Or, like if you're sitting in the doctor's stilted airless waiting room, and another (potential) patient sneezes, well, that "Bless You" seems sort of sanctioned and appropriate. Even as gregarious as I appear to be, I just gotta tell you that I have refrained from public "Bless You"s for quite some time. I don't know, it just felt like a boundary issue to me. I don't know these sneeze-ers in any way; what is it that I'm blessing anyway?
Taylor, no matter what kind of pain he's in or what room he is in our house, if anybody sneezes, he is the first one to exclaim, "Bless you.' And he keeps saying it over and over again until one of us (best the sneezer/sneezee?) hollers out, "Thank you, Taylor." Somehow his "Bless You"s are different. It's kind of hard to explain. His "Bless You" just seems sincere.
A couple of years ago I was having a really hard time---with life, with people, with bits of a broken heart. I was wallowing in my wounded-ness. Basically I was having an all-night pity party--without the french onion dip. One of my first instincts any time I feel bad, is to see if there's a pill I can take to make the pain go away. Yes, I admit it. Immediate gratification and "poof" healing is a real draw for me. However, I also know that the only way out----is through. So there you have it. (What??) Anyway, back to feeling depressed and hurt.....My phenomenal family doctor, Dr. Farris, paid close attention as I wailed but basically did not fall for any of my nonsense. Here was his medical remedy (and I'm not kidding here.) He told me to silently say a blessing for every single person I met for the next ten days. Whether sitting at a red light, standing behind a stranger at K-Mart, passing a jogger on the street, or sitting next to a co-worker in a meeting--He told me to bless them---completely silently and inconspicuously , offer this prayer: "May you find joy. May you find peace. May you know love." It was truly one of those proverbial, "Say ten blessings and call me in the morning" type of medicines.
OK, I know you're all smart readers and already know the end and moral of this story. It worked. And works. Past tense and present tense. Blessing others silently and prayerfully spurs us on to first look inward and then look outward --at ourselves and then at our fellow people---whomever they are. I'll save you a doctor's visit. Try it. It may be a little like that children song says, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
So, today, while in your car or at the store or while walking down your hall at work, smile, nod and bless every person you see. Silently. Prayerfully.
May you find joy. May you find peace. May you know love.
I wonder how many people will be blessing you as well. Won't that feel good?
Before you go out into the world, just start with yourself. "May I find joy, May I find peace. May I know love." Ok, you're ready. Ohhhhhh. I'm feeling a group Gesundheit coming on. Bless us. Bless us all.