Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I am Not Blessed

I know that I am not blessed. I was not blessed with meeting my husband in my child-bearing years. I was not blessed with a healthy baby who now is everything I live for. I was not blessed with a birth family who picked us to parent their child. If these are the blessings that some attribute to God, then I am not blessed. Blessings, you see are relative, one knows to call something a blessing when one knows the antithesis. I live the antithesis so that others know what to call their blessings.

People generally, don't like it when one self-describes herself as "not blessed." When I articulate my reasoning, people say to me, "ah, but you should count your blessings." That makes me cringe too. Because what they are really doing is "shoulding" on me. They assume, and wrongly so, that I am not grateful for what is good in my life. I love my husband. I love my work. I love my family. I love that Caitlin made me a mom. I'm grateful that I am loved when I least deserve it.

But, I won't "count my blessings." Why? Because when I'm told that I "should count my blessings, that means that I should be grateful that I have some things that others do not have---and therein lies the problem. I don't like the use of blessings to mean a favor of something that others do not receive. I reject the notion that finding "blessings" that someone else was not "worthy" to receive, should make me feel better. I can be grateful for what I have without feeling happy that others are less fortunate. And by the same token, I need not aspire to having what others claim are their blessings. I reject the comparisons. Once I sever that thought that someone's fortunes--someone's blessings--have meaning for me, then I am liberated from needing to be blessed. I am not blessed--I am happy, I love, and I am loved.

I will not be uplifted by the misfortunes of others, and I will not be diminished by the fortunes of others.


  1. "I will not be uplifted by the misfortunes of others, and I will not be diminished by the fortunes of others."

    How powerful. And empowering.

  2. very well said. just because you have things to be grateful for in your life does not mean you have any less right to feel sad about the things that are missing from it.

    people seem to strive for a general equilibium of happiness--they want everyone to find some happiness of their own. it's a good human quality but it makes it hard for people to know how to respond to prolonged sadness in others' lives (or their own, of course, but we know that).

  3. Perfectly put. And powerful. I kind of wish everyone fond of platitudes would read this. With love.

  4. Hmmm, I suppose I would settle for equally blessed and not blessed for myself. Perhaps they simply cancel one another out?

    I have always felt uneasy with the phrase 'count your blessings' but could never quite articulate why. I think it is something along the lines of your post but I could never have hoped to have expressed it so clearly. It all calls for a comparison, to hold up what you have in relation to what others have? And, really, where is the sense in that?

  5. I've long been bothered when people say "I'm so blessed." Especially in relation to their family. To me it implies that they feel favoured of God. It is an unintentional slap in the face to those of us not similarly blessed. If one is indeed "blessed" then I think a better expression would be "I'm so thankful" or perhaps "I'm so lucky" because sometimes I think it really is nothing more than luck.

  6. Yes to all of it. I admit I use the expression, but really, you are all right. I do it to try to keep a balance of complaint and gratitude in my life, cuz I can gripe big! But yeah, it's kind of a slap in the face to others who aren't so "blessed". I think I'll change my wording this year.

  7. Thanks for comments all! @Karen, makes perfect sense---keeping balance of complaint and gratitude! Thanks for adding to my understandings. Peace.