As I was leaving school yesterday, I spoke with a colleague. My assistant is out for a while, and she wanted to know what was wrong so she could include it in her prayers for my assistant.
Later, I was in the local IGA when a man sneezed. In that auto-reflexive way we do, I said "Bless you!" He looked up, with an extremely sad face and said, "Thank you. I really could use a blessing today." Then he, and his two young sons, turned down the next aisle.
We don't often think about how something as common as a "bless you" will be received. Often we'll say it, not particularly considering the meaning of the phrase or whether the person is religious. Clearly, this man was in a bad place - perhaps because of the economy, perhaps because he'd received bad news, perhaps, well, who knows. And my simple words meant a lot to him. It gladdened my heart to think that he hadn't simply shrugged it off.
Quakers don't pray in quite the same way as others. I do often hold people in the Light, and now I'm adding this man, just as my colleague has added my assistant.
Prayers and blessing. They're a responsibility we don't often take on, but perhaps one we should spend more time thinking about... and doing.