I’m imagining, little blog o’ mine, that at some point, I’ll feel the need to address what kept me away for nearly two years to the day, but that is not this post. . .
This one is all about grace–a word that’s on my mind a lot these days. I think about it. I invoke it. I try to embody and enact it. And yes, I’m talking grace of the divine variety. Don’t worry: I haven’t come back with a new soapbox. I prefer to live my faith a la Mr. Rogers (of the ‘hood)–being it and not so much yammerin’ on about it. In fact, this divine grace thing has something to do with that.
This grace is a conscientious, deliberate kindness, offered
even especially to asshats and their like, in the spirit of shared human imperfection in all its glory.
There are two women I know who have this down: my friends Heather and Lee. They had it down before Glennon Doyle Melton started writing about it. They were doing it before I read Brene Brown and Anne Lamott. Some fourteen years ago, they were the women I most admired. I didn’t know why at the time. They were both gorgeous, glowing really–the disgusting kind of beautiful people who could seriously rock a potato sack. They were warm. And they were both loved and beloved by friends, family, colleagues, and students. They were good at everything, and it all looked so damn effortless. I just wanted to be them. . . right down to the purses and hair product (It’s true. They’re that fantastic. Even root-lifter and Coach seem doable.)
But it wasn’t effortless. I know that now. It was grace. It was thoughtful and deliberate, and it meant near-constant mindfulness and attention. And this–THIS–is why grace is such a gift and why I’m trying to add it to my repertoire (where, frankly, it is having a bit of a time squeezing in to the little vacancy between my tendency to call it like I see it and its sibling tendency to want to kick insensitive people in the head). Grace means not only forgiving someone for having a case of the bad-hangover, post-breakup, at-least-I-wish-that-was-my-excuse Mondays. It means holding space for them. It means trying to understand them. It means giving them the extra special bit of whatever they need in that moment because you’ve been grumpy, too, and because we’re not all always at our best and because isn’t it nice when someone gives you some leeway and an understanding pat on the fanny (or back or wherever you happen to prefer your physical reassurance)? It means constantly remembering that this person in this moment is not his words or her attitude or that terrible grimace but is, first and foremost, a person.
Because I’m clumsy and awkward and fantastically flawed–and yes, even an asshat–so many times in any one day, I love having gracious people around. I’ve sought them out. I’ve populated my facebook friends list with them. Grace is where it’s at. But here’s the brutal little nugget of truth about grace: it is a lovely thing to receive, but HolychubbylittlenakedbabyJesus is it hard to give. Especially on days when I’m having my own bout of sourface.
And so, two months early (because this is definitely going to take more than a year), I’m declaring grace to be my word of (late 2013 and) 2014.
And with that, the misadventures are back in action.