Be a blessing

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What’s been the most “blessed” moment of your summer so far? Maybe good friends invited you over for a 4th of July party and treated you really well. Maybe you made an early trip to the beach before the crowds got there and enjoyed a beautiful morning. Maybe you sat in the backyard and one evening and watched the ballet of fireflies. It’s good to pause a moment and reflect on the blessings we experience in life.

Even more so, it’s good to see how we are a blessing to others in our lives. Sometimes we are a blessing simply by doing ordinary things — changing diapers, washing laundry, preparing dinner. We might not consider these activities to be blessed, but when these things are not done, we realize how good they are. The summertime gives us a chance to do something beyond the ordinary blessed routines. We can extend deliberate kindnesses to neighbors, friends and relatives. Bake an extra pie to share with another family. Take someone else’s kids or grandkids along with yours to a park or a beach. Share the extra tomatoes or cucumbers when the backyard crops explode in abundance.

People in our community are very good about sharing compassion and love when something sad or traumatic happens. We’ve seen this time and time again. But “being a blessing” for others is something we can aspire to even when something distressful isn’t happening. It’s easy to do when we start each day by claiming, “I’m meant to be a blessing to others today.” Such a beginning primes our speech and our actions. We’re less likely to nag, criticize or gossip if we’re prepared to be a blessing. We’re more like to praise, encourage and spread good news when we spend our day intentionally being a blessing.

For some people “being a blessing” involves spontaneous, joyful, creative sets of acts or words. For others, “being a blessing” takes some planning as they look for deliberate ways to reach out to others who need some kindness, assurance and help. Either way, seeing our role as “being a blessing” can make the difference between a life of drudgery versus a more adventurous and joyful way of living.

Why not share this column with others in your house and see if you can think of some ways your family can do a “blessing project” for someone else? And perhaps you might want to try a “blessing contest” for a day or so (and of course beyond that) to see how family members could be helpful and kind to each other even within the family.

Each of us has been blessed with people, with talents, and with abundances that the rest of the world doesn’t have. The summertime gives us an opportunity to notice these, be grateful for these and to share these with others. It’s time to be a blessing.

 

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Pastor of St. Bernard's since 2013 and known for his engaging homilies and community presence, Father Ralph Sommer is also a treasured columnist for the Levittown Tribune.

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