What I am Reading Wednesday

Last week I finished the book,Gilead: A Novel, in which one character extends a blessing to another:

And he took his hat off and set it on his knee and closed his eyes and lowered his head, almost rested it against my hand, and I did bless him to the limit of my powers, whatever they are, repeating the benediction from Numbers, of course–“The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Nothing could be more beautiful than that, or more expressive of my feelings, certainly, or more sufficient , for that matter. Then, when he didn’t open his eyes or lift up his head, I said, “Lord, bless this beloved son and brother and husband and father.” Then he sat back and looked at me as if he were waking out of a dream. ~Gilead, p. 241

Outside of the Bible, this was the first time that I had read of a ceremonial blessing in print. What are the elements of a blessing? What is a blessing?

For starters take a look at what a blessing isn’t:

Please excuse me as this is one of the most often quoted movies among our friends. It is right up there with Dumb and Dumber. If you have made it this far in life without viewing either of these movies then suffice it to say there is no need to change that!

As I was saying, a blessing. A blessing as specified in the Old Testament and outlined in the book I am currently reading,

includes four parts:

  • meaningful touch
  • a spoken message
  • attaching “high value” to the one being blessed
  • picturing a special future for the one being blessed
  • an active commitment to fulfill the blessing

The first element, meaningful touch is where we will camp today. The research on the importance of physical touch for all individuals, not just newborns, is amazing. Physical touch as small as brushing someone’s hand in the exchange of money increases our favorability of the encounter. I sometimes purposefully avoid contact when exchanging money or my credit card…maybe I will revise this practice.

Wisely or unwisely, I find myself avoiding self-initiated physical touch with people of the opposite sex. Thankfully, according to my husband, I am not a flirtatious woman so I really should feel free to give a pat on the back, a side-armed hug, or a reassuring squeeze to arms of both men and women. According to the research that Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent present, it is very good for everyone’s health and well-being including the one providing the meaningful touch.

This goes for rapport with clients and patients as well. A neurosurgeon tested this theory by touching half his patients on the arm or leg. The half that received these reassuring touches felt that the doctor had been in their room twice as long as those not touched! (The Gift of the Blessing, 1986, p. 42)

At times, the smallest act of touch can be a vehicle to communicating love and personal acceptance. ~The Gift of the Blessing 

Do you feel as if you have missed out on being blessed by another? Is there someone that desires your blessing and you have knowingly or unknowingly withheld it? The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptancemay be a wonderful resource for you.
That is what I am reading this Wednesday. What is on your bookshelf?

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  1. I’ve enjoyed other books by Trent and Smalley, so I’ll have to check this one out too. Thanks of the recommendation!

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