Sophomore Meera Baldwin has always understood the importance of blessing a person after they sneeze. After noticing a clear lack of sneeze blessings within the Hillsdale community, she decided to be the ripple that would create a wave of change. She teamed up with sophomore Liz Oxaal, and together they created a Facebook group called “A Group Where We Bless Each Other After Sneezing”.
According to Baldwin and Oxaal, the group is oriented towards educating people about sneeze blessings. Their mission statement reads, “We unfortunately live in a world where not everyone is blessed enough to receive a blessing after they sneeze. The purpose of this group is to raise awareness about the topic and hopefully come up with helpful alternatives.”
“We ask our followers to post incidents where they sneezed and did not receive a blessing,” Oxaal said. “It’s like a big support group.”
The group started with only about 20 members, but rapidly grew to over 240. Once the group became more well known, group members began to contribute to the ongoing discussions about sneezing and sneeze blessings. Under the leadership of Oxaal and Baldwin, the group began to settle on certain truths and rules regarding sneeze blessings. One such rule is known as “no sneezy, no blessy.”
According to group mediator sophomore Haley Strack, “’No sneezy, no blessy’ is the first and only real guideline of the group.” This rule centers around the fact that a person must sneeze in order to receive a sneeze blessing.
Oxaal explained that “No sneezy, no blessy,” was initially a response to a question from a group member, but turned into a much more controversial topic.
“There has been a lot of confusion about this issue. “No sneezy, no blessy” does not mean you cannot bless someone for any reason,” Oxaal said. “If I cough, I would love it if someone blessed me. But within the group, the issue was created where someone asked if they can bless someone if they only look like they’re about to sneeze.”
Baldwin expanded on some of the other controversies within the group.
“We had a sneeze naming competition,” Baldwin said, describing their difficulty in selecting a winner for the competition. “We were afraid to come across as biased. After we announced the winners, two group members called for our impeachment.”
Despite disagreements between members, the group has still fostered a new love for sneeze blessings within the community.
“There have been a lot of people who confess that they have failed to bless someone after they sneezed,” Oxaal said. “I think that’s something that can unite us all, because it’s something we all struggle with.”
Strack also commented on the positive impact the group has created. “I hope people realize that anyone deserves a blessing,” she commented. “The Lord doesn’t specify that a blessing is only for friends or family — it’s for everyone.”