This I Believe

Mark - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on September 14, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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“Have a Blessed Day”

I believe in the four words Vanita, the postal clerk at the Morgan Park Post Office in Chicago says almost every day after she hands me the receipt for the boxes of books I bring in to mail for my wife and my book business: “Have a Blessed Day!”

It’s not have a good day or have a happy day, which one hears from every seeming fast-food drive-through worker from coast to coast or the immigrant owner in broken English down at the local convenience store when you buy a paper or milk.

Someone wishing you to have a “blessed day” is much more personal, sublime. It is a holy and sacred wish rooted in the old hymns of Pentecostal Christians and African-American gospel choirs. It is quaint, simple, but aren’t all profound statements easily understood? They are very evident, pregnant with complex, universal human truths as intricaly held together as the vast and varied DNA strands that weave us into humans.

Wishing someone blessedness is the ultimate act of civility. All of us can’t be good or happy everyday, but we can treat our fellow humans (brown, black, white, yellow, or a mixture of all or some) with respect and sacredness in a world that is often vulgar and violent. In fact, our culture is one that packages and sells such vulgarity and violence from baggy pants, Long White-shirted rappers, spewing their hatred of authority and their “bitches,” the women who they only have around to sexually penetrate for gratification and then abandon with distain. It is a lifestyle that has spread from coast to coast from the inner city ghetto to the suburban shopping mall where crooked hatted “wannabes” wander the mall in a glaze of ignorance and disrespect for all that is civil and elevating of the human soul.

But not from Vanita who is African-American and I White Caucasian-American. The hypens do not matter when those words, “Have a Blessed Day” are spoken. They have their roots in the old Gospel hymn that cuts across all races, all economic levels, and all cultures: “Blessed Assurance Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of Glory Divine!” To wish someone a taste of something glorious, uplifting, divine is just so special and to hear it in a simple visit to a U.S. Post Office. It is the wish Vanita wishes for me and I for her-to experience just a small morsel of God’s mysterious grace and in so doing enrich the life another person, another human, another citizen.

“Have a Blessed Day!”