It can be as small the fluttering wings of a hummingbird hovering over a purple petunia, or as expansive as a doctor’s smile offering a clean bill of health after a lingering illness. You can find it brewing in a china teapot, between the covers of a book, or in the melody of your favorite song. You feel it when a baby leans his head against your shoulder or when your husband takes your hand during an evening walk. I will never be this happy again, you think to yourself. Nothing could be more beautiful than this.
The word grace has two familiar meanings, and in my mind they combine to create a complete definition of the concept. ”Seemingly effortless beauty, charm, and refinement,” says the Oxford Dictionary, but also “Divine love and protection bestowed freely by God.” When we acknowledge the effortlessly beautiful moments of our lives and relationships, then we are most aware of something divine, something that offers us protection from the harsh realities of life.
Sunday’s are grace-full days for me, and part of me that wishes the world closed up on Sunday’s, the way it used to when I was young (oh now I’ve become one of those women who hearkens back to the good old days). But I wish more people could have a day to savor, to slow down their pace and experience whatever grace life brings their way. I like the idea of setting aside one day in the week to honor grace, notice it where it falls, give it as a gift. Even though I’ve lately fallen out of the church-going habit, I find myself going quiet on Sunday mornings, giving myself some time to be still and notice some of the things I think of as belonging to God – the changing seasons, the blue sky, the faithful companionship of my animals. I’m thankful for waking up with a healthy body and mind, because for so many it is otherwise. I’m grateful for this beautiful home and the loved ones who share it with me. I allow myself the luxury of time on Sundays, time to take the dogs for a longer walk than usual, time to read one more chapter in my book, time to search through all my music until I find just what I need to hear. I will myself to be patient and to move slowly when my usual weekday tendency is to rush and hurry through the hours.
These are the ways I let grace into my life, acknowledge it’s presence as a gift. How full of grace is this life, when you wake in the morning with heath and love, surrounded by food and warmth, when you rise from a soft bed and put on clean and comfortable clothes that fit your body. When you speak daily with people who care about you and are willing to listen to your stories, and when you sit quietly and listen to theirs.
This is Grace, this beautiful and charming life of mine. A gift from God, it’s sufficient to lead me from hour to hour, year to year, decade to decade.