Around age two Caden started forming words and giving simple responses. His most common response was “Bless You”. Every time someone sneezed Caden would be the first to say “Bless You”. It was the cutest thing. Despite what he was doing at the time Caden always stopped to say “Bless You” to whoever sneezed.
One particular Saturday, I was engrossed in something. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember the angry, frustrated and disappointed response I received from Caden during that time. Apparently, while I was engrossed in whatever I was doing, Caden sneezed. And Yes! Subconsciously I heard it but I was so engrossed with whatever I was doing that I didn’t stop to acknowledge the fact that Caden sneezed and worst off, I didn’t stop to say ‘Bless You”. Oh, Caden was furious. He was as furious as a two year old can get. With all the energy in him, he simultaneously stomped his feet, threw his hands to his side and yelled “M-O-M-M-Y! B-L-E-S-S Y-O-U!” I was immediately startled by the tone in his voice and the angry, frustrated and disappointed look on his face. It was as if he was trying to say, Mommy every time you sneezed I stopped what I was doing and acknowledged your sneeze by saying “bless You’ and now I sneezed and you can’t even stop and do the same for me. WIth a huge amount of guilt on my face and in my heart, I proceeded to apologize and say “Bless You” to Caden.
From that day on, that moment has stuck with me. This story got me to thinking, how many times have we missed an opportunity to bless someone by simply acknowledging their presence or by offering a helping hand because we are too engrossed with our day-to-day? How many times have we been concerned only with the issues that impact us directly? How many times have we been in close proximity with someone and not be affected by what they are feeling or experiencing?
We have become a selfish society, who have lost its sense of community and the only way we can turn things around is by first starting with ourselves. That moment reminded me that even without being intentional, my actions were selfish. I regarded whatever I was doing as more important than stopping and acknowledging my son. If we are not careful, we will allow the busyness of our lives or the things in our immediate sphere to separate us from the blessings around us. This holiday season as we plan our travels and our Thanksgiving meals, make our Christmas list and do our shopping, let’s be mindful of those around us and find ways to bless them even if it’s only in words.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3-4New International Version (NIV)