[sneeze] "God bless you." How can three little words be so complicated?
I teach my children to say "God bless you" when someone sneezes, and I say it to them when they sneeze. I have also taught them that it is ok to just say, "bless you" or "God bless," and to always say "thank you" when they are given the blessing from others.
When people around me a store say, "God bless you" after I sneeze, I think that are nice, however, when I sneeze among people that I don't know, and they ignore my sneeze with silence, I'm not offended.
On the other hand, if I sneeze around people that I know, and they don't say "God bless" you, I wonder if they are rude, inconsiderate, or ignoring the fact that I just sneezed.
Sometimes I will try and stop myself from sneezing so that I don't have to put anyone in a position to decide whether or not they should bless me, have God bless me, or just ignore the sneeze entirely and have me judge their actions, or lack of actions.
I try to say "God bless you" if I hear someone sneeze, but honestly, I have a three sneeze limit. If they go beyond three sneezes, I cease blessing them, and remain silent. I have limits.
My mother gets annoyed when she sneezes, and I just say "bless you." She corrects me by uttering the words "God bless you." That is too many words for me sometimes. God knows that He is included in the blessing, right?
So why do we "bless" people when they sneeze, a practice that began roughly around five something hundred AD? To keep demons out? Because our heart stops beating (it really doesn't)? To recognize good fortune? To ward off disease? As a sign of protection from our expelling soul?
I'm going with the following: That's what we have been taught. And, any form of ignoring the spray igniting from someone else's mouth, would be impolite.
God bless you.