Give me a minute, I’m gonna take minute to get around to my point, but give it a minute.
So, I’ve been pushing hard today to get some bears adopted so I could get my electric bill put together. I received the notice that said I had until 5pm today to pay, or it was be disconnected tomorrow morning. Well, by 4:30, I was $10 short and called OUC (Orlando Utilities Commission) in a panic…..and I waited.
…..30 minutes on hold and I finally got someone. I explained the issue, the bullet points:
I am $10 short.
I made this call waaaaay before the cut off.
How can you help?
Shannon was her name, and politely said, “Well, 5pm is what we put on the notices in case someone needs to come into our offices, but if you make it by midnight, you’ll be ok.”
I replied, “Oh, thank you, thank you. That is the best news I’ve heard all day.” And out of nowhere….no, I take that back, after my rearing, where I come from, my southern roots, my southern tongue, my knowledge of how we all behave, I could hear that Shannon was a black woman and I said, “Shannon? Have a blessed day….”
I could hear her big smile on the other end of the line. I could see it in my head, I could feel it bathe over me in her voice, “Well, thank you! YOU have a blessed day, too!”
Now, in the south you’ll find some of the best churches ever seen, some of the best glorification of God, you’ve ever witnessed. There falls upon those churches the principles in which many of us should all hope to aspire to: those of peace, tolerance, humanity, kindness….the promise of a life lived in glory once it rises home to heaven. These are the churches of vibrancy and song, of praise and grace, of Christian philosophy pushed through adversity and handed over in prayer. These are NOT the churches of anger, of political interests, of self intended desire to have the minister’s face blasted on billboards, or even worse, on television. These are the churches where you are known and forgiven, where you desire nothing more than the fellowship of those who remember we are all imperfectly driven to find the truth. These are the old black churches of the South. Where despite being beaten down, lynched, politically ignored and vehemently, socially despised, that the first words out of their mouth when they leave you is: “Have a blessed day.”
THAT is real Christian theology. Despite everything, I hand over my blessing. I give you my best, I hope nothing for you, but a blessed existence.
You only hear that from congregations of those black Southern churches that still remember that peace was the only way to conquer adversity. It could, and would, only be peace. The savior said so. And if anyone needed a savior in our turbulent past, it was this group.
For as long as I can remember, being a Southern boy, it was always a black man or woman, from those particular churches, that looked at me and said, “Have a blessed day…..”
So, in a knee jerk reaction, I couldn’t help tell Shannon, the OUC representative on the phone, “Have a blessed day….”
And it was like we were speaking in code. She and I both knew what that meant. It wasn’t meant to be taken on the surface, it was meant to be felt viscerally, historically. Despite all this crap the media and pundits have tossed at us at race, it was all disseminated and blasted into nothingness by one simple and mindful reminder:
Have a blessed day. And she could hear it, she felt it, and acknowledge with what was a quick connection between two people who had never laid eyes on each other, but understand, remembered the value of that statement. Have a blessed day.
I still have one bear bear to adopt out tonight to finish paying up my electric bill by midnight tonight.
And yes, to anyone who reads this, be sure to use that phrase at some point, and when you do, be sure it has the power that it should, make sure its genuine when you say it, because it has an awful lot of powerful implications. I give you my best, I give you the graces bestowed to all of us, I hope for peace, and I intend to extend to you nothing but the grace and glory.
Have a blessed day….