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When I was a teen, I despised my grandmother’s Southern manners.  My mother’s Leave-It-to-Beaver simpering smile.  How could they let people say such rotten things and not respond?  It was like being a door mat.

Flash forward to today.  One die-hard liberal in the family picked a fight by calling the Republicans “the enemy.”  Maybe a few more of them would have been willing to let it go, but Memorial Day weekend.  Ka-blam!  The battle was on.

Today, an urban teacher friend panned Missouri legislation that would change various elements in the school year calendar state wide.  Apparently, I haven’t researched this, the goal is to improve state tourism by not starting school until later in August.  But could my friend simply say “this legislation is a bad idea?  Oh, no.  He had to call the tourist area Lake of the Go-Karts.  Rural friends may be rural but they know when they are being called unsophisticated hicks.

Tolerance. It isn’t about being a door mat although it does sometimes mean letting something slide when you would rather tell someone to mind their manners, God Bless Their Pointy Little Heads.  For those of you who, sadly, are not southern, that is not strickly speaking a blessing.  It is more of an acknowledgement that sometimes only God can love our loud mouthed flawed selves.  Hopefully, everyone else will be tolerant.

–SueBE

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In her most recent post, She’s Not There, Lori wrote about the tendency that women have to compare themselves to each other and just how catty we can get about it.

It reminded me of one of the scout mom’s I used to work with.  She spent a great deal of time comparing other children to her son.  Needless to say the other child always came out on the short end and she’d point it out. One day she drove the another scout mom to distraction

“Can you believe what she just said?” Um, no. I hadn’t been listening.

“Was she talking about you?”

“No!  But it was just rude.”

“Did she say God Bless him at the end?”

“Yes!”

“Oh, then it doesn’t count.  It’s a southern get-out-of-jail free card. You can say something like ‘that boy’s dumb as a box of rocks, God Bless him.’ And it’s totally okay, as long as you say God Bless Him. But it only applies to rudeness. You still can’t wear white dress shoes before Memorial Day or back over the neighbor’s mailbox.”

I’m not sure the Midwestern mom ever believed me, but I’d grown up hearing my grandmother and her sister’s use this particular phrase. No, it didn’t really excuse the rude things that were being said, but somehow everyone acted like it did.

How much better to bless those around us and truly mean it?

I conducted a little experiment during Lent. Instead of giving something up, I prayed for my enemies. Admittedly, I don’t have real enemies but you know what I mean.  I prayed for the people who annoy me.

Guess what?  As the weeks wore on, my attitude towards these people changed.  I no longer had that tense feeling when I saw one of them.  In fact, I wasn’t 100% certain why some of them had ever annoyed me.

It seems that asking God to Bless them had unexpected consequences.  The next time I’m tempted to say something cutting about someone, God Bless ‘em, I hope that I remember to really and truly bless them instead.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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