One of my deepest desires is to be a Blessing to others. It is no wonder that the Peace Prayer by Francis of Assisi is the blueprint for my life.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light;Where there is sadness, joy
Why would you want to be a blessing in life? Here are three good reasons. You can generate more love and peace in your world. You can create good Karma that will come back to you. And a more selfish reason is that a small act of blessing will make you feel better. In this article, I will use the peace prayer to teach you how to become a blessing to others.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Look at your life, your family, your job. Are there relationships or situations where you find yourself perpetually angry and resentful? It is easy to lose your cool when you are treated unfairly or thwarted. While anger can sometimes be a motivator to affect change, you want to avoid the toxicity of anger and resentment because it disturbs your inner peace. If you find yourself in a situation where you are constantly angry, share your feelings and perceptions with the culprit rather than spew blame. Objectively listen to what they have to say to see if there is validity. If you continue to be at an impasse, step back physically and emotionally and gently send them blessings of peace.
Where there is injury, pardon. The human condition is such that you hurt and disappoint others despite your best intentions or overreact by sending out the militia when a negotiator would have suffice. Once you become aware that you have crossed a line and injured someone, go back to the person and apologize. In addition, if you have said something negative about another person, go back to the person that you told and admit that you were out of line as you apologize. This is hard to do but once again, if your aim in life is to be a blessing, you do not want to slime people with negativity about someone else. A motto I follow is that if it is not edifying, zip the lip.
Where there is doubt, faith. This includes faith in God, faith in others (trust), and faith in self. To be a blessing in this way, try to be “God with Skin” and help others see a loving image of God, as opposed to a critical, judgmental God. Commit to being dependable and consistent when you are with “abused” people so that they can learn to have a sense of trust in others. Finally, point out an individual’s strengths and gifts to help them begin to have faith in themselves.
Where there is despair, hope. To be a blessing of hope, encourage others to focus on what is equally good in their life as opposed to worrying about the future or staying stuck in a past of guilt and shame. A loving God does not make you feel small and dirty over prior behavior but encourages a positive change in your behavior. In addition, become aware of people who are alone or disenfranchised, the people you know who are in pain. Look them in the eye and listen; figuratively or literally put an arm around them. Become a blessing as you let them know that you are there for them. Give a hug. Write a letter. Make a phone call. Send a text. Drop in for a visit.
Where there is darkness, light. This intention intersects well with the one above it. How can you be a light? Consciously choose to be a blessing. Before you enter a situation, make the intention to be a “blessing” and spread kindness to everyone you meet. Smile at a stranger. Give a compliment to a waiter, a store clerk, a person who helps you on the phone. Whenever I food shop, I make the intention to scatter joyful blessings to those people I see; the store employees, the other shoppers, but most importantly, the handicapped and the poor who also shop at my market.
Where there is sadness, joy. Infuse laughter in life. Become a “joy germ”, spread joy and infect everyone around you. Point out the beauty in the moment. Note the absurdity of a situation and laugh about it. See life as a sitcom and you the star as you share your humorous story with others. Take yourself less seriously. Belly laugh in public and watch how people smile. Crack a joke. Send a funny email to your friends. Recently, I created a Pinterest account that I entitled “BeHappy” in order to become a blessing in cyberspace. What could you do?
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Make the decision today to be a blessing to others and become an “instrument of peace”. In order to do this, you must first fill your spirit with peace and joy. It is like the airline dictate that says “put on your own oxygen mask before you put it on someone else”. Unless you are filled with joy, you will not have enough happiness to share with others and will burn out. To truly be an instrument of peace you need to be rooted in peace and joy by doing things that make you happy. Then your joy will be contagious, effortlessly overflow and you will truly be a blessing to the world.
Authors note: This article was written on the day that a new Pope was elected. Imagine my surprise when he chose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi. Perhaps, he too hopes to be an instrument of peace.