Do you remember the scene in Sleeping Beauty when the fairies come to bless the long-awaited baby princess? In Disney’s version, Mistress Flora, Mistress Fauna, and Mistress Merryweather float in, looking rather like colorful plump nuns, and begin to take turns bestowing blessings on the sweet child. First she is given the blessing of beauty, second the blessing of song…but alas, we never know what the third blessing is, because Mistress Merryweather is pre-empted by the arrival of a wicked fairy. Flashes of lightening…ominous music…doom and gloom…and then all hear the curse that the princess will one day prick her finger on a spindle and go to sleep for one hundred years.
At a young age, many of us figure out the difference between a blessing and a curse. Through Disney and storybooks, we learn that we should cheer for the good fairies and ‘boo’ for the wicked ones. We also, I suppose, learn that only certain people can grant blessings or bestow curses…fairies, witches, sorceresses, warlocks…priests, ministers…just the ones with special powers. And yet each week we light our chalice asking that we be inspired to bless and not to curse.
Blessing. Just saying the word feels good. A blessing also has nothing to do with specific words, and has everything to do with the energy we create and send out around us. It is an extension outward of attention and intention for the wellbeing of another. It is kindness offered and positive thoughts sent. To bless another is to show love and concern.
Blessings are relational; human to human, nature to human, person to animal, bird to flower…blessings involve an interaction infused with goodwill. In a beloved community, such as the one we strive to create at UFP, blessing rises between us… between our caring hearts and out of the trust we place in one another.
To bless the world, we have to feel that we have the ability to do so, but are often conflicted about this power. Who are we to offer a blessing? How could we be so presumptuous or even egotistical? But blessing isn’t about power at all. The Hebrew word for blessing, brakha, is rooted in the word for knee, suggesting that we receive blessing by kneeling down, by making ourselves small and receptive …receptive to all the gifts that surround us. And perhaps this is also the best position from which to give blessings…from a place of gratitude and humility, not a place of power or privilege.
And to bless is also a choice…to bless the world is an intentional choice. After each disappointment or failure, maybe we should say, “I choose to bless the world.” After each broken heart, we might say, “I choose to bless.” After each hurt, to bless. We have to choose it again, and again, and again.
May we be a community that chooses to bless.