Battling the “Blessed”

For a few years now, I’ve been privately battling the word “blessed.” If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I used to work for a firm with conservative, WASP-like men leading the charge. One of them insisted on having a Christian cross on his email signature and another (young and recently promoted) had committed his instant messenger tagline to indefinitely say, “Blessed.” I try not to be the type of person to announce my faith before the strength of my character (especially in a business email), but – after leaving the firm – I cringe every time I hear the word “blessed.”

Now, before I go any further, I would like to make it clear that I actually identify broadly with the Christian religion (Catholicism) and do not have an issue with anyone’s freedom of opinions outside of the work environment, but let me explain why these pronouncements cause me such discomfort.

Everything I really need to say about the “blessed” is summed up so eloquently here: Just like the author, Scott Dannemiller, I have made it a practice for the last couple of years to instead say I am “lucky” or “fortunate” instead. To make the correlation between one’s positive country of birth, monetary position, network of loved ones, etc., and God’s favor is to forget about all of those whom have been left behind. What about the victims of natural disasters, abandonment, or identity theft? I cannot imagine that God looks with any less favor, or blessings, on them. Like Dannemiller, I cannot believe our Great Creator of all things handpicks treats for only some of us, dropping perfect lawns and 6-figure jobs down to the chosen few. 

It is very dualistic (black and white) to believe that good comes to/from good and bad comes to/from bad. Most of the time, I just think that shit happens and all that really matters is how we try to put ourselves and our loved ones back together. We learn to be more sensitive, more kind, and less sure of certainties. And then we learn it all over again. We give people the benefit of the doubt even when they don’t deserve it. And, we know popularity, money, and power do not come to us because we are so darn blessed. If we have those things, most of us have had to work hard for them and – if hard work wasn’t involved – it’s not because God granted favor. It’s because that wasn’t part of the lesson one needed to learn…it’s because one tumbled out of the planets and are a lucky-ducky, speckle of dust that rolled and landed on more prosperous ground than some other speckles of dust. 

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