Grace is a beautiful word, but what does it mean in practical terms for us today? It sounds like melted chocolate that covers an entire situation and turns it sweet. Or a gentle fog that erases the rough edges.  I am open to receiving a blessing like that.  Nothing similar to that has ever happened to me, though. The situation doesn’t transform and the world doesn’t soften.

What has happened, and I only see this in retrospect, is that situations in which I have lost—ie, situations I couldn’t make turn out “right,” gave me a new way of seeing. Initially, I fought and struggled both with others and in my mind. I didn’t want to be a loser and I needed “them” to validate me. I wanted them to see how right I was. When I couldn’t wrest that understanding and acknowledgement from the other, I felt frustrated. I also felt diminished in worth. I allowed the other person to define my value. And I hated him/her for not assessing me correctly! 

Often I spent months regurgitating the sad events, much longer, I am sure, than the other person thought about me. If I could just think long enough and hard enough, I could make the past turn out right! It never worked.

And then I considered grace. My definition of grace is when I am propelled from one level of consciousness to another, higher, one. I am not a winner at one level. But I am commitedly on my side; my belief in myself never wavers. The truth is I don’t need anyone’s understanding or acknowledgement. And if I don’t receive acceptance, I move on. It’s OK to let go. Even in relationships that are supposedly foundational—family, love, authority relationships. If I try to “straighten them out” (read: be seen) and I can’t, I take it as a sign that I’m not supposed to be there.

Life is for learning and growth and change. Finishing third grade led to celebration. Why doesn’t finishing chapters of my life result in a celebration? Others may not be ready to move on but my timing originates deep within me. Something in my core seems to know me even more deeply than my mind does. And in committing to listen to that guidance, I am often led in an unpredictable direction.

It has taken me decades to find that whisper in my essence but that is the part of me I can trust. I never run into a wall there. Sometimes I am forced to stop and look at something I have ignored. But with that attention, change and growth always opens something new.

Grace teaches me to stay on my own side, never doubting but always paying attention. Grace leads me to let go and trust my essence more than my mind.  And grace always carries me to another level. Grace confirms me, often not gently, but always respectfully. I find understanding and acknowledgment from the grace that guides me.



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