Full of Grace

It’s been raining outside. I hate the cold and the foreboding. Except this stillness and solitude have bestowed on me a visit from Grace.

I often feel as though I do not merit this grace. As though I have to be this or that and thus worthy of being blessed.

But then again, grace is unmerited. Free. A gift from God. A bestowal without strings attached. And perhaps we do not need to return this favor but only perceive it, and then receive it with gladness. And it’s foolish that we keep demanding for holiness, the need to be morally upright and without blemish, or do something grand, just so we are favored by the gods.

Because no one falls from grace. Life is grace. Everything is on hallowed ground. We only need to grasp this gift of ordinary grace.

I am in bed dreading the day, only wanting to stay under the covers. My daughter enters with her toothless annunciation of a good morning. And so I get up.

I endure the sameness of everyday, driving for the nth time, wondering when life will bequeath me joy. The clouds drift. The colors change. And today a lone cloud looks like a herald.

I run out of things to say. I am grasping. Emptiness comes. I pray, I write desperate for answers, the words appear and along with it, grace.

A dark cloud over me. I get coffee. The girl in the counter chirps: “Halo Miss Paula!” and fills the day with good-hearted cheer. I smile back.

The storm is here. The city darkens. The waters rise. And then I see. Wading through the muddy water, hands clasped, people helping people. They’re on makeshift boats with all that they need on their backs. Smiling.

Everywhere I look, I am graced by the presence of the divine.

As a loved one who’s there every time, as a child who will keep holding your hand, as that one smile, one word, one touch you covet, as a whisper that everything will be made right, as a sky lit up with stars, as that day when your grief allows you to see everything as though for the first time. In those understated moments that loom monumental as you look back, Grace was there.

We should stop thinking that grace demands merit, that it turns up when we have earned or deserve it. Grace is unearned love. It is that kind of love that protects, borders and then greets you when you wave back and say hello. Unmerited and free. Enduring. Waiting. All the time, there.

And I imagine we notice grace when we are in the dark, when grief strips us of our veils, when our hearts are broken, or when hope is a lit candle. Only then grace grabs our attention. It is our saving grace. But we also need to notice that this favor is bestowed everyday. And although I wish Grace announced its arrival with the beating of angel wings, she comes subtlety with a gentle knocking  we often take for granted.

It’s been raining outside. I hate the cold and the foreboding. Except that in this stillness and solitude, I have perceived a gift. And I receive it with gladness.

And I say grace.


(This article was inspired in part by Jennifer Hoffman’s “Find a Place for Grace.” http://enlighteninglife.com/find-place-grace/)

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