Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bless ‘Em All

The answer was right there in the lyrics of an old song and I never saw it until now.

The origins of “Bless ‘Em All” are a little sketchy, but the song is probably most associated with World War II. Or at least it is to my way of thinking.

For those of you who may know not this little ditty, it goes something like this:

Bless 'em all, Bless 'em all.
The long and the short and the tall,
Bless all those Sergeants and WO1's,
Bless all those Corporals and their blinkin'sons…

My dad, a WWII veteran, knew this song and he told me the rank-and-file soldiers often substituted another word for “bless.” Please feel free to use your imagination.

There’s also a play and film entitled The Long and the Short and The Tall that we watched when we were kids and we always laughed when one character told another “I can be a bigger bastard than you!”

The song had been out of my head for the longest time until I went to confession at the Church of Saint Agnes, which is close to my new office.

Saint Agnes was established in 1873 to serve the laborers who built nearby Grand Central Terminal, which is holy ground to me.

I’m flying to Chicago tomorrow for work and I don’t like getting on a plane without first receiving communion and confessing my sins.

I told the priest I’m still working on the anger and how I’m still furious with so many people from my past, even though they’ve been out of my life for decades. And the priest gave me some rather odd advice.

“You should ask God to bless them,” he said.

As Back to Their Billets They’ll Crawl

How’s that? Bless these mutts who did me dirty? This is a joke, right? Yeah, I’ll ask the Almighty to bless them, all right—with a pile of bricks.
“Ask God to bless them,” the priest said, “and you’ll feel better.”

It’s hard to believe, but I found that he was right.

Whenever I thought about someone who had pissed me off, I asked God to bless that person and the anger just dissipated.

It ain't easy being mad at people while you’re wishing them well. My hostile nature gets all confused.

Forgiveness is important, of course, but taking that extra step and asking for God’s blessing on those who caused you woe gives you the power to evict those malingering spirits.

“I want you to say one Our Father and the Hail Marys,” the priest said, “and I want you to say them for someone who is dying today.”

This was fabulous. Not only did he give me a way to reduce my rage, but he got me thinking of others as well.

We’re all going to leave this world someday, so it’s important to pray for those who are going now because I’ll want the same kindness when it’s my turn.

There’ll be no promotions on this side of the ocean, but as long as I can, I’ll bless ‘em all.


Ron said...

Rob, I love how you correlate two different experiences and find a similar life lesson between them both.

"There’ll be no promotions on this side of the ocean, but as long as I can, I’ll bless ‘em all."


And it's so true what you said about asking God to bless someone who we might be angry or at odds with and feeling a dissipation because it DOES work.

Have a great time in Chicago, buddy!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, what's up?

Yes, I'm trying to improve my outlook and get rid of this hostility. It's not going to be easy, but it's definitely worth the effort!

Thanks for the good wishes, buddy, and now I'm off to the Windy City!

Bijoux said...

Forgiveness might be the hardest human action. I have heard that there is healing when you pray for those who have done you wrong. But it sure ain't easy!

valerie said...

the thing about being mad at people and holding grudges, sometimes we're the one who is all in a huff about it and the other person is not even thinking about us. i guess that's why people say forgiveness is not for the other person, but for the person who feels they were wronged. i tried to hold a grudge against someone and i couldn't do it. it lasted two weeks, that's just not who i am. we don't have to be the friends we were, but if i saw that person on the street, i would have no problem saying hello. i sometimes hate i can't stay mad forever.

Rob K said...

@Bijox- oh how right you are! It sure ain't easy!

Rob K said...

@Valerie--I like your approach here. Unfortunately I have the Irish Alzheimer's: we forget everything but the grudges!

A Cuban In London said...

Forgiveness might be one of the toughest lessons I have had to learn in my life. But I guess that when one becomes a parent one must also remember that we are raising children for society in general. Great post.

Greetings from London.

Rob K said...

Oh, thank you so much, brother!