A man sneezes in a bus and the little girl next to him turns around and says “God bless you”. The man reacts by turning to the parents, complaining with an angry voice how she could dare saying something like that to an atheist like him and why they teach her such nonsense anyway. Before the parents have any time to react another lady interrupts him. “I am a hard core Christian but when a Muslim says ‘Allah bless you’ to my I say ‘thank you’.”
I read that story on the Internet the other day and I don’t know if it is a true story or not. But since it can serve as a wonderful example I don’t care. Because there is something about sneezing I don’t get.
Also a couple of days ago I witnessed a discussion about how to react when someone sneezes in your presence. Even though it is still common to say “bless you” or “gesundheit” it is now considered correct not to respond but wait for the sneezer to apologize. And here is what I don’t get. The fact that his sneeze has somewhat disturbed the situation is wore than the fact that the person is sick. We are, in a way, saying “Die if you may as long as it is not inconvenient for me.” I know, I over-dramatize, but I don’t see why the suffering of a human should be less important than being disturbed for a split second.
So yes, I say “God bless you” and I mean that. And why should somebody not say ‘thank you’? I see his suffering and I want to wish him the best. And, as a Christian, the best thing I know is God’s blessing.
When I small child drew you a picture you say ‘thank you’. Another reaction, in case you want never to get anything from that child and intend to psychically harm the kid, could be ‘What is that? How dare you give me such waste of pencil and paper?’ But I must say I can’t imagine anybody doing that. Because you might be a monster, when a child hands you a toy phone you answer it.