By in Spirituality

"Have a blessed day"? Don't say it if you don't genuinely mean it.

There are people who take great offense if someone tells them to "Have a blessed day". I am not one of those people—in general. When someone says it to me with genuine feeling and sincerity, I take the words with gratitude. I may or may not share the person's same faith, but that isn't the point. That individual wanted to share their good spirit and wish me well, and I'll accept it without protest.

But there are times when I've heard those words said with great in sincerity and that truly bothers me, rubs me as hypocritical and against all that the person's faith should stand for. Such a time happened this past week at work. As often happens on days when the doctor is out on house calls, the phone was busy with people calling to find out when he would be at their home. And we can only tell them what we told them when they first got their appointment: unfortunately we can't give an exact time, just that it will be at some point during the day between 10am-6pm (or 1-6pm on certain days). Because it depends on how long each house call takes. If everyone is home. If there are traffic issues. If he has to re-arrange his schedule at the last minute.

Many are fine with that, given how few doctors even do house calls in this day and age. But we still have some (usually adult children who hate the idea of having to spend—gasp!—potentially one full day or afternoon in their home-bound parent's company) who love to call and complain about how inefficient this system is. What an inconvenience it is to them that we cannot give a more exact time. I had one such caller give me an earful about this and when I apologized that there was nothing I could do about it, she just hung up on me—but not before adding a sharp-toned "Have a blessed day" before ending the conversation.

Yes, I'm sure that's the spirit in which her God intended people to wish blessings on others. Does saying it somehow make her feel better about her complaining and rudeness? Something like, "I've blessed this awful person on the phone, now I'm absolved of my anger and attitude toward her"?

For what it's worth, when the doctor did get to the house in question, within the given time frame, no one was home. So it was a waste of his time and gas, but I guess it's okay because a blessing was given instead of being there for a scheduled appointment.

Image Credit » by javierb34

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sockii wrote on July 19, 2015, 9:02 AM

I've definitely heard it more when I've been in the South than around here in New Jersey/Philadelphia. One of our local talk radio stations, not long ago, had a whole hour where people debated whether it was offensive or innocuous. And the debate was set off because the host had just had a similar experience to me, someone saying it to them at the end of an argumentative phone call.

Kasman wrote on July 19, 2015, 11:22 AM

If someone said that to me in the circumstances you describe here I would be short and to the Anglo-Saxon point with them!

FourWalls wrote on July 19, 2015, 12:13 PM

Did she get charged for the appointment anyway? Most doctors here now charge patients if they miss an appointment or don't cancel within a set period of time (usually 24 hours).

FourWalls wrote on July 19, 2015, 12:15 PM

The southern comedians say that you can say ANYTHING about anyone as long as you preface it with "bless your heart." emoticon :grin: The meaning depends on the context, too: if someone does something nice for you, you'll hear "bless your heart!" If someone is talking trash about someone you'll also hear "bless their heart."

DWDavisRSL wrote on July 19, 2015, 2:07 PM

Some people say things like "Have a blessed day" out of habit just like some people ask "How are you?" when they couldn't care less how you are.

sockii wrote on July 21, 2015, 8:24 AM

No, he's too much of a softie to charge people for missed far. A lot of our patients are elderly and I think he feels bad because a lot of them have real reasons why they may miss appointments either in the home or the office. (Dependent on others for transportation, illnesses that can land them in the hospital unexpectedly, etc.) Of course, that means we get a lot of people who take advantage of his time as well, consistently making appointments they don't keep.