BEFORE I BEGAN to practice … blessing God, moments of goodness had to reach out and grab me dramatically. The practice of blessing retrained my senses to notice elements in the landscape of life I previously passed by heedlessly. This new awareness fed my soul and slowly reshaped my attitudes. Simple goodness, savored, more and more became an experience of being blessed by a Goodness that always had been lurking in things, unnoticed and hidden.
– Robert Corin Morris
Wrestling with Grace: A Spirituality for the Rough Edges of Daily Life
Slowly but surely, Gareth and Elysia have cultivated the practice of Examen. Most nights whenever possible, we are able to share our Highs and our Lows for the day. It’s the time when I can get a glimpse of what is important for the kids.
Sharing the Highs and the Lows are merely the first step of what The Fink Five, i.e.
1. Share – Highs and Lows (what’s good and not-so-good today)
2. Read – a Bible verse (or other sacred scripture in other faith traditions)
3. Talk – about your day and how the highs and lows may relate to the scripture
4. Pray – for one another’s highs and lows
5. Bless – one another before turning out the lights on the day
I used the last finger to remind them that after the whole process or routine, we need to remind ourselves to bless people. This practice of blessing can be tough sometimes, because it points away from ourselves where we feel most natural or comfortable to "others". Sometimes, we are not in the mood to think about other people. And we live in an age where we are told, we shouldn’t do anyway, or bless people if we don’t feel like it because it’s fake or not genuine. And if it’s not genuine don’t do it…
That may have some truth in it. We don’t want to pretend. And yet, there are times when the kind of thinking in the previous paragraph is our excuse or cop-out from stretching ourselves towards maturity. "Forcing" ourselves sometimes, is a needed stretch for us to put more effort in noticing what we would prefer to ignore … especially to "others" whom we are less familiar or unhappy with. It does take effort to notice the "good" – even the little we can try to dig out in others. Writing people off is the easier alternative, ignoring them may come as the preferred option.
But since, growth as a human being in the way of Jesus also means growth to become more like Jesus who ultimately points to the goodness of God, we are then stretched to reflect the nature of one who "blesses" others … he rains on all – whether righteous or unrighteous, good or evil … and so often, we fall in both categories.
So, before we turn of the lights tonight … bless you! We don’t have to wait for a sneeze to say it or do it!