ON BENEDICTIONS

On my dad’s 60th birthday (two months ago), we (my older siblings and I) decided to do some really cool, kind, lovely things for him. One of which was to show up at his place of worship on Sunday without his knowledge. He was thrilled and truly surprised. The church leader ended his sermon with the importance of a ‘benediction’ and extended it to offering benedictions over the people around us.

Now a benediction is a blessing, in Christian congregations it is normally the final prayer in which blessings for the church, its members, and their families, are offered by whomever is chosen into that capacity to offer it.
The word “benedicite” has a Latin origin meaning “bless ye” or “wish well”. So the idea of benedictions is to bless. While listening to him, a number of thoughts crossed my mind. I thought of how the day, week, and entire month of people could change after receiving a benediction. I thought of how someone’s burden (emotional, physical, spiritual,) could be made lighter because another person thought of them and offered words of encouragement, a prayer, words of hope and general assurances. How different our life circumstances would be if we received a benediction from another!
I further extended this idea of giving and receiving benediction, to simply giving and receiving compliments and other kind words, and it seemed to me that the effect in both instances could not be any different. it is very easy for us as individuals to offer harsh judgements instead of constructive criticisms. Unkind words rather than softer ones. Words of despair than of hope. Generally, it is the norm of human nature to hasten to believe in all that is wrong than the likely opposite. That is why we can confidently survive 24 hours without saying one kind word to anyone we cross paths with. We restrain ourselves from saying kind words to others but to what end?
To some people it may seem well weird to look at a friend and wish them well on an endeavor. Saying “may you receive all the strength you need to do this” or “I wish you well, you’ll come out a victor”, seems like a bunch of the strangest, heaviest words on their lips. And yet, and yet, saying those ordinary words such as “you hurt me”, “you’re so mean”, seems easy.
Maybe we’ve been socialized in a way that we cannot easily offer compliments and encouragements to others. Maybe we just do not see the need to. Or maybe because we do not receive those words just as much, we do not find the strength to bless the lives of others with our words. But maybe all of that should not define our purpose and or future. Saying and receiving benedictions is about the coolest thing you can give and be given. Imagine how lighter you’d feel if you met a friend and they suddenly said something nice to you; if not about your appearance, about your schedule for the day, about your hopes for the near future.
The scary truth about blessing the lives of others with words is that you, inevitably, are blessed too. You’d find that after telling someone, “that’s a nice watch you have on”, you suddenly feel so good inside, your whole being becomes filled with light and love and peace and such good comfort, instantly.
I remember how good I felt one time I told my brother, Zee, that his cologne smelled really lovely. He smiled, and I could feel how delightful it was for him to have heard those words. Moments after he left I caught myself smiling recalling his smile and multiple thank yous- my whole day was filled with love and happiness.
I appreciate the wife of an uncle who delights in offering benedictions occasionally, than giving me money. Sometime back I felt that was weird, “why would you ask me to go well or ask for God’s guidance for me when you could just give me some cash?”. Now I treasure and appreciate all those times she did this. I believe her blessings protected me from danger or bad happenings of a sort.
Give benedictions on others. It will change their whole day and possibly their view about life and what they may be going through. And funny enough, you’ll be blessed with that same happiness as well. It works! How about sending benedictory messages to everyone you communicate with today. Give a compliment, say a kind word- wish people well!
Love yourself, appreciate others. ESSY SCRIPTS.

Photo credit: quotefancy.com

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