Wind Chimes (Photo credit: kulicki)
I am taking an e-course titled “30 Days of Grace,” taught by artist and healer Alena Hennessy. In one of the lessons, she asked us to consider what the word ‘grace’ meant to us. When I initially read the lesson, I groaned thinking, “Yet another important question that I cannot answer!” To my surprise, I quickly realized that I knew the answer to the question, that I felt the answer to the question.
I’d never given the question much thought. Growing up, I was taught to define the word in one of three ways. First, as the prayer that we said before a meal, second, one’s way of handling themselves in various situations and third, one’s way of presenting themselves to those around them.
Yet, as I began writing, it occurred to me that the list of instances and things in which I see ‘grace’ is limitless. There is no set of definitions that can define the word ‘grace.’ Grace means different things to different people and though there may be some commonality, there is rarely a common agreement as to what the word engenders for each of us. In my case, I believe that ‘grace’ = life and all that comes with it.
Grace is the joy that I feel when I look into the faces of my children and grandchildren. Grace is the music of my wind chimes as a gentle breeze rushes through them. Grace is the scent of orange blossoms, jasmine, lavender and more. Grace is a candle-lit room as I sit still in meditation. Grace is prayer and thanksgiving. Grace is the beauty of my daughter as she labors to give birth to her first child. Grace is the love and devotion on my son-in-law’s face as he stands vigil to support my daughter through a long, difficult labor. Grace is being there as my grandson, eyes wide open, takes his first look at his new world. Grace is the sound of rain on a tin roof. Grace is the sound of my favorite songs. Grace is the feeling that propels me to dance and sing to those songs.
Grace is laughter. Grace is a smiling face. Grace is my husband. Grace is having my mother still with us. Grace is in spite of fibromyalgia, being able to get out of bed most mornings. Grace is the trusting look on the faces of my grandchildren as I look into their eyes. Grace is in the beauty of the night sky with its infinite stars, planets and galaxies, unhampered by city lights. Grace is the smell of freshly laundered clothes. Grace is a sense of accomplishment for a job well done.
Grace is a steaming cup of tea or coffee on a cold day. Grace is coming home after an extended trip away. Grace is a field of wild flowers swaying gently in the breeze. Grace is the birds who gather each morning at the feeder outside my bedroom window. Grace is a surprise call from a loved one. Grace is serendipity. Grace is the feel of the sun on my skin. Grace is having the exact amount of money to pay for a purchase. Grace is not looking, but finding that ‘perfect’ gift for a special person in my life. Grace is in the amazing art that my daughter creates. Grace is my son’s tireless determine to make a better life for himself and his family. Grace is in the strength to overcome horrible circumstances. Grace is in falling down, and picking one’s self up.
Grace is being there for someone in their time of need. Grace is saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it. Grace is forgiving, both others, but especially, yourself. Grace is the pleasure of friendship. Grace is going to the mailbox and finding a beautiful card or letter, sent to me, for no particular reason. Grace is helping those in need. Grace is paying it forward. Grace is hot water for an insanely long bubble bath. Grace is having the time to slow down and enjoy the moment. Grace is being alone without feeling lonely. Grace is being my own best friend. Grace is in spite of having three children by 21 years old, I persevered to graduate college and law school. Grace is a piece of ice cold watermelon or a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. Grace is the feel of settling beneath freshly laundered sheets. Grace is expressing my creativity. Grace is writing, painting and drawing. Grace is playing a game of jacks. Grace is playing bingo with my 7 year old g’daughter. Grace is the stillness and quiet of the early morning before the rest of the house wakes.. Grace is realizing that I can after years of believing I can’t. Grace is loving myself, just the way that I am. Grace is reading a good book. Grace is learning something new.
Grace is being grateful. Grace is saying ‘thank you.’ Grace is being a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Grace is the love that gripes my heart when I think of my little brother who died much too soon. Grace is saying ‘I love you.’ Grace is being told “I love you.” Grace is every morning that I wake to a new day. Grace is kindness and generosity. Grace is the faith that I have in God. Grace is food on the table, a roof over my head and clothes on my back. Grace is in the challenges that I face, in order to appreciate the grace around me. Grace is me and you. Grace is the special person, now a friend, who gifted me this class when we only knew one another through FB and not very well. Grace is in accepting things as they are and not as you want them to be.
I wrote and wrote for pages until I got tired and had to stop, but I could have written for hours. I understand now that grace is everywhere and a quality in everything that I do. Grace is in the faces that I see in stores and on the streets. Grace is in every encounter. Grace is the blessing of each of you that I ‘meet’ and connect with through this blog. In fact, grace is the opportunity to spend my time with you in this way. I feel blessed that I’ve had the chance to ponder this question as it has done for me what I intended in creating this blog, brought me closer to my true and graceful self, as well as an appreciation for all the beauty that surrounds me. As I said earlier, grace is — life.
Blessings and grace to you, Lydia
All Will Be Well, ~ Julian of Norwich