Define grace. Grace with the capital G. I don’t mean the elegant, suave ambulation of the prima ballerina, well-trained for years in proper posture and comportment. I mean the divine grace bestowed upon us by God (if you are a believer). I am not sure how to explain Grace to those who do not believe in God. For it is Grace that makes us try to be nicer and kinder and gentler in this world. Because frankly, we’re jerks. In traffic. At sporting events. In the parking lot leaving church services. We say ugly comments about the panhandlers begging for money. We judge that apparently able-bodied person getting out of the convertible Miata in that handicapped parking spot just outside Wal-Mart. We’re not nice. It is not our natural operating system. Human beings are just mean.
It is by GRACE we try to be nicer, kinder. We pay-it-forward. To make the world a better place. Doing this requires effort and intention. Our default setting is to be selfish and self-oriented. And the basic laws of physics mean our efforts to be graceful and gratious requires the input of energy. And we’re all tired and fed up and in a rush. So, why bother?
Because of Grace. Someone gave us Grace.
We’ve all felt it. Those momentary, enveloping, saturating bits of pure, unadulterated Grace. It flows through us from some cosmic source. I believe it is straight from God. And grace leads to LOVE. There is no other way to get to love – to allow yourself to love other people (or even yourself) unless you belive in Grace. That for no reason other than you are simple you, that you are worthy of love. That your husband or wife or even that homeless person should have your love simply because they exist. There is no transaction. No barter. No exchange. It is a gift bestowed. Unilateral.
And the first time I felt it was when I held my first born child. Maybe there were smaller bits of this supernatural stuff, this love, this grace at some point before in my life. But I didn’t get a jolt of Grace or even understand love until I was holding this child that had grown inside me, woven by some other truly supernatural force called DNA. It was the first time I felt the magnitude of Grace and could conceptualize love. But even now, as I write…it is more of a physical feeling. A knowledge at the foundational level, in that double-helix, to feel and know love is experienced only by Grace.
Whoa! BOOM! I got it. I get it. It helps to be reminded.
Grace is given instantly, freely and beneficently to us. We don’t earn it. It is just there. And to experience it makes us (or at least makes me) want to give it away. I want other people to feel and know that supernatural force.
So, be kind. Be gentle. Be gracious. Love. Love big. Love when it is undeserved. Especially when it is undeserved. Love in the wake of your own ugliness and pettiness. Catch yourself when you are hard-hearted and turn, immediately and be gracious. Repair and restore. Seek to correct mistakes. Let the divinity flow through you. Start with yourself. Then for your closest loved ones. Then to strangers. Watch it transform your whole being.