A long time ago there was a young boy who lived with his father in a small cottage. Almost every evening he would hear his father say the same thing:
“Poor me. I will die a sad old man because you are a fool and will never amount to anything.”
But the boy was not a fool, in fact, he showed a lot of wisdom for his age, and he had a generous heart. One day, after helping a widow stack wood, he was about to go home when she stopped him and placing her hand on his head spoke these words:
“You are a reflection of the face of God. The world is brighter for the joy you have given me this day. I bless you my child.”
The boy stepped back, amazed: “What was that?”
“Why, it was a blessing my child! Haven’t you ever received a blessing before?”
Back at home he asked his father: “Papa? Why do you curse me? Why do you not bless me?”
“What a ridiculous question. It is against my nature to bless. Poor me. I will die a sad old man because you are a fool and will never amount to anything.”
“Oh” said the boy, and he felt sorry for his father. That night he decided that no matter how uncomfortable it felt, he would become the kind of person who blessed others. And so he did.
The boy grew to be a man, left the forest and built a home for himself and had a family of his own. He was still haunted by the curses of his father, but he had decided to bless.
Almost every evening, he would call one of his children to himself, lay his hand upon their head and speak these words:
“You are a reflection of the face of God. The world is brighter for the joy you give me this day. I bless you my child.”
One evening there was a knock on the front door and as he had raised his children to do, they welcomed in a blind beggar, and gave him some food to eat. The young man walked in and immediately recognized it was his own father, but he didn’t reveal his own identity.
He listened to the old man speak. And the old man talked about how he had lost his eyesight, and how he’d been forced to beg in a world where life was hard. Just then his son spoke up:
“Grandfather! You’re welcome to stay here with us!”
“But I have no money to pay you.” said the old man.
“Oh, we don’t need any money; all we ask is that as long as you stay with us, you speak only blessings. – What’s the matter?”
“It…it’s against my nature to bless!”
“Grandfather, I can tell by your hands that you have worked your whole life. So, begging must be against your nature as well, but see, it has brought you here to us!”
The old man couldn’t argue this point, so he agreed to stay, but it was weeks before he spoke a word – it was so against his nature to bless. When he finally did, you could hardly hear him:
“What’s that Grandfather?”
“I said, bless you for taking an old man in from the cold. I wish my son had turned out like you, but he was a fool and…”
“Ah! Grandfather, only blessings!”
“Well, I wish my son had turned out like you! Bless you!”
This wasn’t bad for a first blessing! And a week later he spoke another one and it was a little smoother. Then he began to bless every day — many times in a day. You could say that blessing became… second nature to him.
The more he blessed, the more he smiled. The more he smiled the more his heart softened. And the more his heart softened, the more joy he began to experience; a different kind of joy than he had known before.
They lived happily for years until one winter the old man fell ill and was near death. As his breathing grew labored, his son sat on the bedside and asked:
“Grandfather, is there anything I can get for you?”
“No one can bring me what I most need at this hour.”
“Please Grandfather, anything! What would you like?”
“I should like to see my own son once more to give him my blessing. As he was growing, I gave only curses. I told him it was against my nature to bless. And, as you can see, I have learned to bless too late…” Then his son leaned closer and whispered:
“Papa! Papa it’s me, your own son… I am here! It is not too late! God has seen fit to bring us together these last years. It’s not too late! I’m here… I’m here!”
And they embraced. A moment later the old man straightened up, stretched out a trembling hand, laid it upon his son’s head, and spoke these words:
“You are a reflection of the face of God. Though I cannot see you with my eyes, I see you with my heart and the mercy you have shown me these past years is like a brilliant light, dispelling all shadow as I pass from time into eternity. I will die a happy old man, because I have learned to bless and so…my son… I… bless you.”
With these words, his hand fell back down to his chest and he died with this beautiful smile on his face.
Just then the wind became very strong outside and he got up to close the shutter, but then he heard an ancient voice:
“Eternity shines brighter for the joy you bring me this day. I bless you my child.”
Then the wind died down and everything became peaceful in the countryside and in the heart of the young man.
~ Author Unknown ~