Friday, April 30, 2010

On Sneezing

"I would never want to live with or marry someone who didn't say "bless you" after I sneezed." 
I read that once in a magazine story, probably one of my grandmother's Good Housekeeping that she subscribed to for years....despite the dust and clutter around her house.  This comment has stayed with me for years and years.  I think of it sometimes when someone sneezes and I say "bless you" to them.  Do they think it polite?  Unnecessary?  Good upbringing?  Pleasing? Silly?

Gott segne dich is the German version of God bless you; it sounds harsh and impersonal so I don't say that.  I rarely say "God bless you", as I'm not much of a church go-er, it might seem, insincere or misplaced in my vocabulary norm.  But this woman's comment about being ignored when you sneeze and no one blessing if a person nearby that failed to strike common courtesy must not truly care for her well-being or be worthy of loving.  I wonder.   Wondering is a bad habit of mine.

I have at times felt guilty about not blessing someones sneeze, based solely on this magazine story.  As a child  my father did not bless upon my sneeze, but instead went with the "get any on ya?" phrase, which perhaps was funny once, or maybe even twice, but in no way felt as if blessings had been bestowed.  Does this speak to his love or his upbringing or his sense of humor or something else?

My brother suffered from allergies and would sneeze numerous times when waking in the morning.  At times I would count them, out loud, but was reprimanded by his ungrateful stare.  I understood and realized his agony.  How many times are you obligated to bless someone when they are a multiple sneezer?  Do you bless the first and let the others go?  Do you bless the first and then the last in the long string?  Do you impart a new phrase such as "many blessings to you" when they finish?  It's touch and go...a case by case basis I suppose.

Maybe my blessing is I'm not much of a sneezer.  The occasional cold will bring the beasts on, or a tickle of allergies in spring or fall, but it is not normally part of my day.  This may mean I don't need to be blessed.  I must say though I think of this phrase when in close proximity to a friend and they don't bless my sneeze.  It may be best to evaluate the friendship then and there.  But I don't......

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

God Bless You Susan!! I am having fun exploring your blog. When my oldest son was a little boy, no matter what part of the house he was in he would always yell out to us "I sneezed, I sneezed" and would keep saying it until we said God Bless You. That makes me smile. When I sneeze at work, I am kind of miffed that my office mates don't say it to me. Have a great weekend!