“How are you?” I heard myself asking a coworker recently.
“I’m blessed!” came her quick response. I felt the visceral reaction I have when I hear phrases from my evangelical, fundamentalist, charismatic religious upbringing and early adulthood which cause a caustic memory to surface about the pain of rejection from people that I thought cared for me once they learned of my orientation. Instead of retorting with the dry sarcasm that was begging to be released, I opted for business cordiality and smiled as I quickly pushed forward to complete the task at hand. Yet, in my head, I was having a full-blown discussion about this expression and the many other teachings in which I was indoctrinated. Words and phrases such as fellowship, breaking bread, righteous indignation, anointed, God is good, and the blood of Jesus fueled my ire. Principles of God the Father, virgin birth, resurrection, and blood sacrificealso invaded my inner dialogue, so much so, that I think I sprained some eye muscles from rolling them. I’m sure to an external observer I was a riot to watch—you know, similar tohow reality television slows down facial expressions for dramatic effect.
Flash forward a week and I’m having a Thanksgiving Day conversation with someone special. I’m discussing the personal upheaval I’ve faced over the year and the fact that for the first time in 18 years I’m making a decision about what I’m doing for Thanksgiving Day on my own. The conversation was deep and gratifying for this introvert and without even thinking I said, “I’m blessed to have you in my life.” Although I was engulfed with feelings of warmth and love, I suddenly started giggling. The look on his face was priceless and all I could think of was what it must feel like to be told that phrase and then for the speaker to start laughing—which caused me to chuckle more. I quickly apologized and began explaining my dilemma with using the phrase.
The “I’m Blessed” discussion led to a broader religious discourse and our perspectives. Rest assured, I have no firm answers when it comes to such things, but I do still find all things spiritual fascinating—it’s just religious doctrine that I have a tendency to outright reject. He is quite engaging when it comes to such discussions so it made for an enjoyable exchange of ideas. Fortunately, he completely understood where I was coming from on the religious front. We came to the conclusion that despite the negative connotations of some words and phrases, that there are appropriate times to employ such language.
Earlier today, this same person and I are texting and he says, “I’m lucky to have that,” in reference to our relationship. Then I get another text that simply says, “No”. Followed immediately by, “I’m blessed” and the hand-over-mouth emoticon. I chuckled silently knowing what he was doing in regards to our previous conversation before responding with, “Awwwwww.” His final response was, “Fo real tho” and in that moment, I too, felt blessed.