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Blessings: Honey in the Heart and Thirteen Thank-Yous

Posted in Blog by Elizabeth Neeld, Joie de Vivre: Enjoying Life


That is an old-fashioned sounding word, isn’t it?

We heard—and spoke—and sang—this word a lot when I was a little girl growing up in the South.

There was the promise of the words of that old Civil-War-era hymn:

There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

And the plaintive request of the hymn’s refrain:

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need;
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

And there was Granny Leach with her answer to every knee scrape or bump on the head or fright from a rooster chase in the chicken yard :

Me: (crying and running to Granny)

Granny: (holding out her arms to catch and pull me into her long apron with a strong hug):

Bless your little heart.

What comfort. What loving care.

Blessings, of course, have a long ecclesiastical history.

And blessings also have a long history of weaving themselves into the idiom of our daily lives.

We say “Bless you” when someone sneezes.


We remind ourselves to “Count your blessings” when negativity rears its ugly head.

Some people in Britain and Australia express affection this way: My little niece-bless her cotton socks-won the school poetry contest.

Many hometown celebrations in the United States will, come July 4th, conclude with the loud and strong singing of God Bless America.

And who hasn’t seen one of hundreds of versions of the front door plaque that reads: Bless this house.

I’ve been thinking a lot about blessings since I came across a lovely blessing this past week that I had never heard before.

This is a blessing common among the Tzutujil Indians of Guatemala:

Be blessed with long life, honey in the heart, no evil, and thirteen thank-yous.

Long life.

Honey in the heart.

No evil.

Thirteen thank-yous.


If blessings can feel like showers (showers of blessing, showers of blessing we need), there are a lot of us, finding ourselves now in very parched and dry circumstances, who could use as many refreshing drops as we can get.

Perhaps for the next while each of us can notice-and mean-what we say when we call out “Bless you” to someone who sneezes.

Perhaps we can wonder what being blessed with “honey in the heart” would feel like and wish this sweetness to be a part of our daily discourse.

And perhaps we will not only list our thirteen thank-yous but also speak them.

Such words of gratitude can only be…

A blessing.



Dr. Elizabeth Harper Neeld offers wisdom and practical insights to anyone whose life is in a time of transition, change, grief and loss of any kind. As an internationally recognized and accomplished consultant, and author of more than twenty books - including Tough Transitions and Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World - she is committed to work that helps lift the human spirit.

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