What I learned from a three-year-old’s sneeze

“Bless me!”

That’s how my niece followed up a sneeze Sunday morning.

Hearing the kid sneeze really wasn’t surprising — her nose typically has a good deal of hotel scene Peter Venkman going on — but her immediate self blessing request took me back for a second.

Wasn’t she kind of taking matters into her own hands here?

I mean, most of us just kind of wait to be granted a “bless you,” or the more formal, “God bless you.” Most of us just kind of expect others to notice our situation and pass along the blessings, and if they don’t, we just move along sans blessing.

Not my niece. The three-year-old realized what she needed and wasn’t about to risk her uncle, who had his nose buried in box scores from the previous night’s NBA games, not recognizing it.

The more I think about it, I kind of hope she keeps that attitude as she grows older.

I think a lot of times we realize what we need in life, we realize what we want or what might really help us out, but rather than take charge and speak up about it, we just sit and hope someone else recognizes it and hooks us up. Rather than go get that blessing, we assume it will eventually just make it’s way to us.

Sometimes we even do this with God. Instead of admitting what we need and persistently praying for it, we fall into that, everything-will-work-out-for-the-best mode. I think sometimes we mask that as having faith, but really it seems kind of lazy.

Maybe instead of just sitting and waiting on our blessings, we should shout about what we need and then begin chasing them with reckless abandon. That type of reckless abandon that really takes more faith than staying put and assuming that blessing with fall out of the sky.

I mean, Jacob wrestled with an angel and wouldn’t tap out of the figure-four until he was blessed.

Now I’m not saying jumping in the ring with God is a good idea, that is unless you want to walk away with a nasty limp like Jacob.

But maybe, when we realize what we need and/or what our hearts desire, maybe then instead of simply waiting for those blessings, we should start working towards them in faith that our efforts will pay off.

Maybe saying, “bless me,” isn’t the wrong sneeze response after all.


About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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