God bless you.
An interesting phrase for a sneeze. An even more interesting word and premise, blessed.
Jesus doles out blessings quite interestingly, blessing the poor, the mourners, the persecuted, and the peacemakers in the Sermon on the Mount. But for us (at least for me) living in a wealthy nation, with a consistent paycheck, good friends, daily meals, and a solid family, blessedness can take quite different forms than what Jesus dictated in Matthew 5.
Because blessings should be associated with happiness, right? Blessings should be connected to a good life. And I am not writing to posit that this isn't true. I merely want to share how I have been blessed in recent weeks.
At South Street, we strive to employ urban youth. To teach them job skills and financial management that will equip them with opportunities as they enter adulthood. We do this on a small scale, hiring 2-3 youth at a time. One particular young woman is bright and witty, with a razor's tongue that keeps the neighborhood entertained and ensures her protection against the insults of others. She frequents our programming and also attends events with other Akron non-profits.
At one such event, this young woman lost her temper as a situation spiraled out of control and our newest hire ended up verbally and vulgarly dissecting the staff of this organization. Needless to say, we heard about it.
So we talked. We put stipulations on her employment based on her reconciliation with this organization. They didn't need to be friends, but they needed to respect each other. And this mediation came to pass, and it went well (for the most part…).
So where does blessing come in? How was I blessed by this whole situation? Frankly it was more work for me and a bit more drama than I care for. But in between the situation and the mediation, this student asked me for some help with one of her school assignments. Poems for English class.
And I was blessed. Blessed to be a neighbor, friend, and brother in Christ close enough that this young student currently on some form of probation felt comfortable enough to not only ask me for help, but to let me read her poetry. Poems of a descriptive personal nature, detailing her temper, her facade, her inner quietness.
It was a blessing to be let in. To be invited into her life and to know her a little deeper through her words. Her words defend her in a rough neighborhood. Her words entertain others and esteem her place in the pecking order. Her words defend against racial and economic differences. Her words can cut you to the core. Her words were a blessing to me.
I am not going to post her poetry her. One because I do not have her permission (although I may ask later) and two because it is her story to tell, not mine. Mine is to share her blessing. Not a blessing of wealth, family, or comfort, but a blessing of depth. Depth of character, story, and shared-life. I am blessed to be welcomed into the heart and life of another.
I hope that in my words you find a blessing as well.