Thursday, April 30, 2015

FTSF: #Blessed

Since this seems to be the week in which I am exploring my prejudices and that which makes me feel superior (now I know you want to read on), let's tackle blessed.

This word used to aggravate me beyond measure. I'm not entirely sure why, or I wouldn't be able to put my finger on just one reason. It's overused, and overused by a certain subset of one religious population in these here United States. It's also feels saccharine and not fully genuine to me. 

There's this guy's argument that I won't summarize here because the article's worth reading if you haven't already.

And I associate it with motherly kvelling, a Yiddish word I learned recently in an post by someone on his/her blog that I can't recall at this moment (sorry). And since it was handed out to me by God or fate or chance that I would have children with special needs, I don't have quite as many opportunities to kvell or proclaim how blessed I am that my child can read at the age of four or is a future track superstar, and it therefore calls up those vestiges of bitterness and envy that still linger. (Now, I can and will kvell along with the best of them regarding my children's more atypical accomplishments as anyone who reads this blog knows.)

But I think I may have become more open-minded to this word. This blogging business has broadened my horizons. I can identify at least one user of this word in the blogosphere that I can admire. And I see it how often it is used to describe what I would genuinely agree are blessings: familial love, kindness and compassion towards others, true friendship. Not material possessions, but that which is unseen, gifts from God or the universe or whatever source you choose to cite.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I love the word, but I think I might have used it once or twice with only a twinge of irony.

And, in fact, I will end by writing that I am blessed to have met such truly wonderful souls as my blog tribe encompasses. See? And I only threw up a little in my mouth.

with hosts Kristi, Allison, and Kelly

31 comments :

  1. *giggling*

    You made me smile with my whole self, I think. I do think you're marvellous, and I so enjoy your thoughts *happysighs*

    I suppose the saying is mostly used by your 'religious subset' here in England, too, and that's where I've heard it said most, but I think I prefer it in some instances because I don't think it's always 'luck' (such as that is) because there's always more to it than happenstance and coincidence. I think I like that 'blessed' still allows for personal effort and input and trying to build up (e.g. relationships) whilst still acknowledging the delight and wonder that those bring.

    You've got me thinking.

    And yeah it sucks when it's turned into a weird kind of humble-brag. That's sucky and NOT a blessing to anyone - it's just boasting.

    AAAAAND you gave me a new word. I haven't had any from you in a while, so I'm pleased. Kvell.

    I like it.

    And I like you.

    Lots.

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    1. Oh, such a great comment and so very flattered that I made you think. Yes, blessed is not luck. I think you have that right. And I like you lots, too!

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  2. A really interesting perspective. I was interested in what the writer of the article had to say about blessings. We live in such a materialistic society that saying stuff like, I'm blessed with a nice home, a good job, many possessions, is the norm. But is there love and laughter in that home? I know there is love and laughter in yours - those are really blessings. Is kvelling like kvetching but positively instead of negatively?

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    1. Val, kvelling is like bursting with pride.

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    2. Lisa knows it. In the article I read, it was described as a humble brag. You can picture it. We all do it, of course.
      Love and laughter are certainly blessings.

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    3. Can there really be such a thing as a "humble brag"? Seems like a pretty good oxymoron if you ask me.

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  3. Hahahahaha you used the word correctly. Too many on social media do use it as a former of humble bragging, which causes immediate non humble gagging on my part.
    The TToT and those who participate help me realize true blessings.
    This is great! #GREAT!

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    1. #SUPER! I keep coming back to the true blessings being intangible. And beer.

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  4. The Internet hates me this week - I just lost my entire comment! Argh!
    I agree that the word blessed is often misused - in general, any particular religious subset aside. Blessed means consecrated or made divine. It means having Divine favor or protection bestowed. So in most cases, that is definitely not what people mean. To use your example, my child being able to read by age four is not a blessing; it's aptitude. My child surviving a problematic birth scenario? That's a blessing. I honestly think that people choose it when they want something other than "lucky." Lizzi referred to that. But what would probably be best in most cases is the word grateful - which is exactly what he says at the end. I think his discussion of the Beatitudes is spot-on. God asks us for humble and kind behavior because it is right and good to live that way; he does not offer worldly possessions as reward for it.
    Good article, good post, good thoughts.

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    1. The Internet is pouring woes on you this week!!!
      Thanks for such a thoughtful response, Lisa. If being blessed means having Divine favor then we're all blessed from the start, right? I mean, in Christianity, that is. I don't know about other religions. Then #blessed should be ways in which Divine favor shows itself. Argh, now I think I'm talking in circles. I'll just avoid the word.

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    2. Well, let's talk Judaism. There are so many example of Divine favor in the Bible - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Israelites' flight from Egypt, Daniel, the Prophets, the Psalms...the list goes on. And those I mentioned are just Old Testament, so on the question about other religions, well, there's your answer for Judaism, at least. Head to the New Testament and you'll find verses addressing Divine favor everywhere. So yes, Yeah, I think Divine favor applies and in many places in the Bible where it's present, the word chosen is...you guessed it...blessed. Or blessed in combination with favor.

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  5. I do use the word blessed in my blogging efforts. A lot. However I tend to use it in a snarky mom way. As in "I'm so blessed to have the honor of cleaning up the hay and poop from my son's rabbit cage ..." It feels odd and I suppose overly sacharine for me to use it otherwise.

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    1. I kinda love "bless her heart." Favorite saying of mine--in that tongue in cheek kind of way.

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  6. Oh my God, yes! I don't like that word either and cringe when I hear (or read) it. Isn't that awful? Seriously, makes me crazy. And because I live in the south, I hear it all the time - "I'm blessed." or ""Bless her heart." Ugh. Even though I often feel that I'm the b-word, I still can't say it. I'll say, "I'm lucky," or "I'm fortunate."

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    1. Yeah, if you live in the South you get a heavy dose of it. I like "fortunate," too.

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  7. Kvelling is a good word. Kvetching is another one. As in the sentence: "Oy, she's kvetching again about that one who's always kvelling about her son the doctor/banker/lawyer. Such a nudge, that kvetcher!" Or words to that effect. Enjoy!

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    1. I knew kvetch before kvell. Kvell was only new to me this week or last. Kvetch is fav of my husband's. Well done using them both in one sentence!

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    2. Anna, well done! I laughed out loud because I've heard such similar things in more than a few kitchens. :D

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  8. Now I'm wondering how often I use the word "blessed!" I know I used it in my Listen to Your Mother speech last year and I'm like yikes! Do I use it a lot? Glad you only threw up in your mouth a little bit. I'm blessed to have you as a friend. Heehee! (true though)

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    1. I cannot imagine you using blessed in a way that makes me cringe, Kristi.

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  9. Now I have to go do a word search on my blog. I don't think I use it that much because I think it's overused too. Another word that I can't stand is surreal. Like can't you think of anything else to describe how you are feeling. I think surreal is the new blessed.

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    1. This is so hilarious! I used surreal in a comment on...Kelly's FTSF post, I think. Now I'll think twice about that one!

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  10. Where do we stand on 'Bless your boots' (or its counterpart for certain friends - 'bless your boobs'?) ;)

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    1. That one's OK and even charming. Don't ask me to explain. It just is.

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  11. So I read this last week and commented but in my haste I hit sign out instead of publish... but now I am back and I will hit publish i promise -

    You nailed it...until I read this post I was not able to verbalize how I felt when I heard or read "blessed" but you are right there is an uneasiness when it is used or over used - At certain times I felt uneasy when I heard it... I thought I felt jealousy when I saw it on a pricey SUV's licence plate and thought well anyone that can afford that vehicle should feel "blessed" now I know it wasn't jealousy it made me uneasy because well do we need to know how that driver feels... also prior to seeing that on a license plate we have a family member who I feel is controlling, not very nice if you don't share his views...he has a soft spoken voice and his hellos and good byes are always you guessed it "blessed you" or "blessed be" its creepy,and hypocritical. He does not control me and I am not afraid of him but in truth I'm not a fan or really like him. he is a family member that i really don't need to deal with him.

    I believe if you feel blessed express it, i don't believe that you should expose the word to be a power trip or head game and who knows perhaps the driver of the SUV does feel it because they have great kids, survived a terrible disease or is a good person and is willing to share her good fate by reminding us ...its a thought thanks great post.

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    1. It's good to think the best of people and consider that the driver of the SUV feels blessed for true blessings and not her SUV, but all the trappings of any religion can become dangerous if used to control others.

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    2. I'm going to ride on Marisa's coattails and say I'm blessed that she wrote a comment that summed it all up for me as well :)

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  12. AW!! Bless your heart Sarah!!! (hee hee- but I do really really mean that) Matter of fact, I'm hoping I"m the one you mentioned!

    It's a word that much like any other word, can be used with intention, or carelessness or recklessness... or worse? Deceit. And even more worse? (#Writer) Snarky. Yeah... that bugs me.

    I loved that article. :)

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    1. You are! I'm glad you knew it!!! And yes, you nailed with your comment. Any word has the potential, huh?

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