I can’t speak Welsh, though we live in a Welsh speaking village, as incomers with strong Welsh roots.
Although my Welsh vocabulary is limited, one of my favourite words is ‘bendithion’ – blessing. Not only can I actually pronounce it but it’s accessible to Welsh and non-Welsh speakers. So I use it often.
It speaks of grace, of approval, of protection. It carries a sense of beauty, of life-full-ness.
Somehow in a word it wraps up kind intention, abundance and a source that’s so much bigger than us. I feel like a steward, passing on something precious on trust.
Of course I could hold on to this sense of blessing, hoard it, especially as at times I feel I have so little to give. My barrel is dry.
But I know that blessings withheld rapidly slip between my fingers. If it’s not given away, it metaphorically shrivels. It’s not meant for holding on to.
So I give it away. And as I do I am starting to notice that it’s more than just a word (sometimes I’m very slow on the uptake). It’s grace-in-action. Whatever that person needs right now.
Intentionally giving blessing means I see you. I notice more than just a name or title and affirm who you are and who you could be.
Of course I don’t always, or even often, say all of this explicitly. It’s the intention, the orientation, that I am giving of myself when I say or write the word blessings, bendithion.
I wouldn’t ever want it to just become another catchphrase or sign-off. Which is why using the Welsh word, bendithion, is so helpful. It’s not part of my everyday language so I bring more consciousness to its use.
Living in blessing
Am I blessed? Oh yes!
This doesn’t mean life is easy – I won’t bore you with the catalogue – and it certainly doesn’t mean I’m always a blessing to others.
However, I know that the source of this blessing isn’t me. So I reach out for more and try to stretch my ‘blessing muscles’ intentionally each day.
The well-known Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel beautifully walk us through a range of attitudes and circumstances that become the recipients of blessing. Extraordinary.
Who would have thought that those who mourn, who are poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted would be blessed? This certainly isn’t the normal political economy of 2017. Stu Gerrard’s amazing Beatitudes Project offers us just such an alternative take.
If we looked with different eyes, what would we see?
And how could this transform us into greater givers of blessing?