What is grace? It is not those words we rotely recited at dinner as a child (or maybe, for you, it is).
You can witness it, experience it, feel it, but it seems to be beyond words. It’s not something you work at, but rather an ethereal quality that enters into both beautiful and troubling moments of life. There is an opening to grace, an allowing that happens.
Grace is present in the pre-dawn hours when a mother sits in the dark, gently rocking her sweet sleeping baby. Grace is present in the soft kiss on the brow of a dying loved one. Grace enters in and carries us in the moments we don’t lose it in the midst of rage and confusion – when instead we are able to stand steady and face whatever is here. When we are able to be clear, confident, and compassionate, even as our voice quakes and our whole being shakes.
Grace is a Divine presence that encircles us when we come together in times of fierce and gentle love. Grace holds us when we surrender and allow ourselves to be led. Grace is also present in the strong actions of protest against injustice and wrong-doing. When we find the courage to stand up and face our oppressor, and say “no more” in a clear and unwavering stance, grace surely stands by our side.
Grace is witnessed in the silent prancing of the deer, the smooth flight of the seagull, the head toss of a frolicking horse. In the breath-taking performance of a ballerina or a singer taken over by a mighty force from within. Those moments that leave you breathless. I think grace is present there.
So, how do we “find grace?” We quiet our minds. We slow down our busy selves. We open our hearts and our eyes to notice. We breathe softly. We listen deeply. We love fiercely.
Grace is in the magic of the rising and setting sun, the changing of the leaves to orange, yellow, and red, in the delicate uniqueness of the snowflake. Grace can be soft, and it can also be fierce.
Grace is in the miracle of lives spared in unimaginably treacherous situations. It is in the reuniting of lost loved ones. It is in the protection of the imprisoned as they find their way home. Grace finds us and opens us if we allow it.
Grace is in the language of the poet, the flow of the dance, the stroke of the artist’s brush, the gentleness of the breeze, and the reflection of the still pond.
For something that is beyond words, I’ve just found a lot… after all, grace is worthy of our curiosity, our exploration, our inquiry. Grace deserves to have us sit with her and feel her softness and her strength in the beating of our heart, the pulsing of our veins. Grace is a life force energy all its own.
We will not see it in the blustering of an enraged person or in one driven by fear or vengeance. Does grace exist in fear? I don’t know, but I do know it can glide in as a balm if we allow it.
Grace is admitting when the fight is over and walking away. Grace is embodied in acceptance, and it walks hand in hand with dignity. Grace is woven into the tapestry of healing and recovery. Grace is in the eyes of the one who can look beneath the surface, into the heart and soul of another, and see the essential goodness.
Grace is in extending compassion to those who have hurt you. It slips into the dark places of pain to say, “May I begin to forgive you in order to release my soul from the agony of so much anger, hatred, and blame.” Grace says, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Please forgive me.” Grace loves when it seems unreasonable, and grace also holds the boundary that says, I love me too, and this I cannot/will not endure any longer.
Grace will guide us when we ask to be led to it. In the quiet still moments, ask. What do you find? Invite it in. Let it hold you in troubling times. What do you feel? It is worthy of noticing.
For me, this simple exploration has softened me. It has slowed my entire being. It has calmed each cell in this body and soothed my racing mind.
Grace holds fiercely, but lightly, what she stands for. Grace is Divine. It cannot be defined, for words limit its boundlessness, but it can most certainly be felt and seen.
It is the sparkle in the darkest of times that whispers, “We will be ok. We will be ok. We are ok. We are stronger than we think, and we will get through, but not by kicking and screaming and forcing things to go away. We will be ok when we accept and allow, and show up to follow our guidance. We will be ok.”
Thoughts? I invite you to sit with the idea of grace. What comes up for you? Please share.
And, if you’d like to join us for some further exploration, come to the Virtual Mini Retreat that Carol Moon and I are offering Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 6 – 8:30 PM EST. All the details and registration are here. Questions? Please ask!