Two enormous gifts came last week, one in the form of an email, one via the phone. Both from young women, both extraordinary, both with messages of hope and understanding. I am so grateful for what the world offers us in the way of love, empathy, compassion, imagination, camaraderie; I am so grateful to be alive and able to give and to receive. I usually hate it when people talk about blessings; they sound so smug, like, "Shucks, I guess the Lord just loves me a little bit better than He does you, cause I'm bley-ust!" But I'm realizing that blessings have nothing to do with "the Lord," that when people say "bless you," even when they're saying "God bless you," what they really mean is "I bless you." They mean, "I ask [God-as-I-understand-God] to bless you." Or, "I don't have any power over anything, but if I did, I'd like to remind the universe that you're worthy of its favorable attention." For whatever that's worth, which turns out to be everything.
People are the ones who bless each other. We're the ones who say it when you sneeze, or when you almost lose your step, or when you perform some generous or kind act, and if you really fuck up we'll up the ante and bless your heart. I say it to you, you say it to me, or we demonstrate it in some way -- I sanction this act of yours, I note your consideration of me; look at us, doing the thing. We wish each other the best fortune, the most favorable outcome; we believe that such a fate is possible, if only briefly.
To any and all readers, commenters, people who have emailed me, and the inspiring, thoughtful friends I've made both on and offline -- I am blessed to know you. Every day I receive affirmation from you that you want me to thrive,* and if you know me, you know how much I wish this for you.** You send me explicit and implicit blessings; I want to send you blessings in return. When I say bless you, I mean "go, you." When I say bless you, I mean "I am grateful for you." When I say bless you, I mean, "I want you to be protected from harm." When I say bless you, I mean "I thank life for allowing me you." When I say bless you, I mean "thank you."
I am of as limited means as anybody. My blessing is nothing but a bunch of hot air, the breath you blow at your birthday candles bearing the inevitable wish. But I send it anyway.
and good night!
( * Yes, even the negative commenters.)
( * Yes. Even the negative commenters.)