Part of our Southern heritage dictates that before or after we say anything disparaging about anyone, we should add a "bless their heart" to it.
I knew this early on; in fact, I would bet good money the first words I uttered after the dog's name were tagging a blessing onto someone.
But people have come to recognize that when we say those three little words, in all of their glory, that we truly are saying something that probably shouldn't bear repeating. So I condensed it. Now, I just say ‘bless it.'
I was talking with Mama one day on the phone, or rather, listening to her tell me about someone back home who had worked her nerves something fierce. Not just hers, but Granny's too, to the point my whole little hillbilly clan was in an uproar.
"What do you think about that?" Mama inquired of me after she finished.
"Bless it," was my reply.
It took about 10 times to bless something before Mama caught on to the difference.
"What do you mean when you say that?" she asked.
"Well, Mama, we're always saying ‘bless so and so's heart' and when we do, people know we are about to say something that's pretty dingdang bad. But, if we say ‘bless it,' they don't know what we mean."
Mama thought about that for a while.
"I think I like that," she surmised. "I think I like that a lot. Bless it."
I've slipped a bless it into conversations with people that could make Ghandi eat a cheeseburger.
In the midst of their catterwalling about life in general, I have just said ‘bless it' and gone on my way. They smiled and thought I was saying something nice and I didn't have to say what I really thought. So it worked for both of us.
Mama asked me where I came up with this not too long ago, right after I told her about a situation and had ended it with the bless it.
"I kinda got it from you, Mama dear," I replied and I did.
Mama used to tell me when someone made me upset, angry or hurt my feelings, instead of doing something ugly to bless that person out of my life.
"How am I supposed to do that?" I asked.
"You're going to ask for them to be moved on to their greater good, to their bigger blessing, where they can be a blessing to someone or something else."
"I don't want them to be blessed, I want them to feel as bad as I do right now."
"No, Kitten. When they are blessed, they can move out of your life, and both of you will be better off. By blessing them, you in return get a blessing."
So I started a-blessing with a fury. And know what, it worked.
I've been blessing a while now, but some just take a little longer but it's worth it.
Bless it, indeed.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.