Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bless = Bliss

My special friend, Sherri, authors periodic thoughts for email, entitled "mind medicine". If anyone is interested in receiving these thought provoking emails, simply send an email to "bahasherri@yahoo.com", subj line: Mind Med, including the email address you would prefer they be sent to.

This morning's thought:
"Bliss. Bless.
Bliss = Bless
Bless = Bliss

These two words seem interchangeable to me."

Got me thinking. To my understanding, to bless is to show approval. Biblical history shows us that when people were where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing, and being who they were supposed to be, they were blessed. Should they be off in any one of these areas, there was a sense of having lost the blessing.

Sadly, today, we talk about encouraging self-esteem in each other; which is consistently difficult to accomplish. Self-esteem, is how we feel about ourself...especially as it relates to others around us. So, we hear platitudes about respect me, I am your equal. Generally, when we are seeking to feel good about our self we have lost the blessing, and we compensate for that by demanding that others recognize us for who we want, or used, to be.

There was a time, when a father would "bless" his children. I don't know if we use the idiom much anymore, but there was a time when a man would ask a woman's father for his blessing on their marriage. You see, in reality, blessing is a blessing; and to our disadvantage we have chosen to not bless our children, and instead seek to encourage their self-esteem building.

Henri JM Nouwen in his book, "Life of the Beloved", Crossroad, New York, 1994, page 56, said: "Let me first tell you what I mean by the word "blessing". In Latin, to bless is benedicere. The word "benediction" that is used in many churches means literally: speaking (dictio) well (bene) or saying good things of someone." On page 57 he continues by saying: "A blessing touches the original goodness of the other and calls forth his or her Belovedness." I am amazed at how close the two words appear to be: blessedness and belovedness; because, you know they are basically the same. Oh, if only we could get each other to again recognize the value of being blessed.

Father Nouwen, then goes on to relate an incident in a home for mentally challenged people, where he was resident priest. At one of the prayer meetings, one of the members asked him if he would give her a blessing. He responded by making the sign of the cross on her forehead with his thumb. The member, exclaimed, "No, that doesn't work. I want a real blessing!" At the close of the prayer service, he invited her to come forward, and offered to give her a hug. As she closed in for the hug, he wrapped his arms around her. Of course he was wearing his sacramental robe, and in the process of enfolding her into a hug, he completely covered her with his robe. That picture still brings tears to my eyes. Yes, that is a blessing! What an affirmation of her blessedness, her belovedness. For me, that presents what I believe about God, that when we go to Him in repentance, He draws us close and enfolds us in His humongous arms, and we are loved like we have never been loved. Yeah! that's what its all about.

And that, conveniently leads me into the second part, the word "bliss". How should we define bliss? Is it not a feeling of extreme well-being? How much more can we possibly have a feeling of well-being, unless we are where we are supposed to be, when we are supposed to be there, and doing what we are supposed to be doing? That definitely sounds like being blessed. On the other side of the coin, we have the angle where we experience the bliss of having blessed someone, of having affirmed them, of having touched their original goodness and bringing to their mind their belovedness. You see, when we are blessing, we are receiving a blessing, and everyone comes out a winner. No need to demand equalness, or respect. We know we are at peace, and the world is copacetic.

Oh, if only we were able to understand and accept this simple bit of information; how much different this world would be. Wanna talk about hope and change? Look at the hope that would be engendered by blessing each other. You wanna talk about change? Just think of the change that would be wrought simply because we are all affirmed of our belovedness, and none of us worry about be shut out.

Thank you, Sherri, you have stimulated my mind. I love you.

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