My friend BJo started something when I shared with readers her thoughts, “Rather than thinking we have to wait for God to bless us, perhaps what He might want is for us is to create our own blessings for ourselves or for one another.”
Several readers tell me they are now thinking about blessings — how they can pass from and through us to those we encounter. Blessings can be particularly helpful while in the midst of the holiday season — a time of joy but also frenzied activity.
Here are more suggestions about what a blessing could look like.
Author Ann Patchett writes, “Show kindness whenever possible. Show it to the people in front of you, the people coming up behind you, and the people with whom you are running neck and neck. It will vastly improve the quality of your own life, the lives of others, and the state of the world.”
Being kind to others brings a sense of personal well being to oneself, so the giver gets blessed in return.
A blessing may also be as simple as slowing down and taking time to make eye contact with people – really seeing the person behind the counter or the one who is fitting our shoes, altering our clothes or serving us food — just the simple practice of seeing, smiling and greeting others.
Unfortunately this is also the time of year when we encounter people who are rude. A way of blessing them is to take a step back and remind ourselves that what that person did is not about us, but simply a “spill-over” from something hurtful going on in their personal lives. Why would we want to add to their burden by being rude in return?
Instead we can offer a blessing by being patient, understanding and tolerant. If the rudeness continues, we give a blessing to ourselves by stepping away.
The beautiful thing about blessings is they are not just for special occasions, but every day of the year and if we start practicing now maybe by the time the new year rolls around, we'll have acquired a new habit.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.