I’m not crazy about #blessed on social media. I get it, and I don’t mean to make too much of it. I understand that it means “I am so grateful for this moment and for the joy represented in this picture of my family on the beach at sunset after a fun week of well-earned vacation.” However, I ponder the moments where grief invades the jubilance, when the blessings don’t seem worthy of the hashtag:
The table laden with casseroles after the funeral
The family Christmas picture minus a child
The ultrasound revealing the baby has special needs
The candlelight vigil
The Simons discovered in a nightmare (Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry his cross).
If we are #blessed by the promotion, what are we when the job is lost? Are we #blessed when knee deep in laundry created by the vomiting baby with diarrhea? Can we be #blessed in the nursing home?
Are we only #blessed when the storm barely misses our house? Or are we also #blessed when it levels it? We are obviously #blessed by the clear medical test. Are we not #blessed when cancer is detected? We are #blessed when the marriage is proposed. Are we still #blessed when the divorce papers are served? We are #blessed when a beloved is baptized. What about when that beloved is arrested?
Maybe we need a #broken, too. A yin for the yang. A to for the fro. An exhale for the inhale. A time for every season under heaven.
“I lost my scholarship.” #broken
“I lost my temper.” #broken
“I lost my way, my hopes, my dreams, my faith.” #broken
“My burden was too heavy, so I didn’t show up.” #broken
“Her burden was too heavy, so I pretended not to see her in the grocery store.” #broken
“I had another miscarriage.” #broken
“I am saddled with regret.” #broken
“I am suffocated by fear.” #broken
“I can’t put on my big girl panties.” #broken
“I can’t even find my big girl panties.” #broken
Perhaps #blessed should affirm the home and not the house, the attitude and not the attribute, the striving and not the achieving.
“I filled out the application.” #blessed
“I went to rehab.” #blessed
“I wrote a thank you note to the teacher I struggled with.” #blessed
“I had my last round of chemotherapy.” #blessed
“I drove my friend to his last round of chemotherapy.” #blessed
“I rock babies in the nursery.” #blessed
“All I ever wanted was a baby, and I never had one, so I rock babies in the nursery.” #blessed
“I told her I was sorry, that I overreacted, that the whole thing was my fault.” #blessed
“I congratulated him and tried to mean it.” #blessed
“I went to counseling, and I’m planning to go back next week.” #blessed
“I was kind, and no one was watching.” #blessed
“This time, I walked away when I heard the gossip start.” #blessed
“This time, I was tempted yet didn’t succumb.” #blessed
“This time, I asked for help.” #blessed
While we prefer pretty words like happy, colorful, safe, and magnificent to gut-wrenching, nasty, painful, and afraid, we are #blessed with the ugly words, too. Even if we don’t want to claim them on Instagram.
Celeste King Conner is #broken and #blessed. Share your hashtags with her at firstname.lastname@example.org