As she entered the elevator on the 20th floor moving gently through the doors and appearing to use her cane to guide her as much as provide stability, she began to explain:
“I had a horrible fall
yesterday. Everything went everywhere. Broke my glasses. These are an
older pair. I can hardly see with them. But until I replace the other
pair this is all I have.”
She continued her story slowly as older people do
and when we arrived at the lobby where she began to move to the door,
she had more to tell but sensed that she needed to exit and not hold up
others who were going further.
Partially out of the elevator
and wanting to complete the story, she struggled to grasp the right
words for summation. Another gentleman on the elevator, perhaps
recognizing her dilemma and also in a hurry to reach his destination,
interjected, You be careful now, freeing her to move on. And she
responded, Thank you receiving what she needed to depart. Her story
had been heard, understood and acknowledged and now she could leave.
But perhaps there was more?
Yes, the story had been heard, understood and acknowledged, but she had
also been blessed, and she received the blessing with a Thank You.
She did not receive, You be careful now as a segue to a purposeful exit or
a hurried “goodbye now let me go” or a mere admonishment to do her best
not to fall again, but as a blessing that she would not fall again.
It is not possible to know the
intent of the speaker, but there was a day when words had only one
meaning and the power to bless was understood. As I look back, I realize
there have been many blessings I have not received, not appreciating the
power, intent or authority of the speaker.
I always considered Grandma’s
admonishment to be good
or her parting words to drive safely
as things that older folks were required to say. These were not words of
meaning as I would never intentionally not
be good or be drive unsafely. I, and
perhaps you also, considered such words as time-honored ways of saying
goodbye, words that needed not to have been spoken but served as a
closing when words more meaningful could not be found, words spoken to
fill the silence of departure.
I won’t be that stupid again.
I will receive my blessings!