Unexpected Moments of Grace

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. -Anne Lamott

Sometimes we may wake up feeling irritable or negative, despite our desire to wake up with cheer and gratitude.  After an extended amount of time, we may begin to feel as if that the world is against us.  One thing after another goes wrong, and it’s as if we are on the perpetual defense. We are prepared for attack, and it seems we are the only ones fighting our battles.  We have an army of one, and it’s purely exhausting.

But if we stop to pause, perhaps we can begin to notice we are not alone. Those that care for us may reach out at unexpected times. The universe is sending us little nudges that we may actually have others on our team.

This is the case during this holiday season.   Various stressors contribute to feeling overwhelmed and on edge.  But simultaneously as this is occurring, numerous people have been reaching out and expressing their care and gratitude towards me.  It’s been quite a surprise and I realized I had a choice. I can remain angry and bitter, and opt to not see the joys people have been offering me.  Or I can turn towards the love, and allow myself to take it in.

The past several days, I began receiving cards, phone calls, gifts, emails, and texts from friends and family from various parts of the world.  When I let down my guard, I can see and feel acts of grace that are landing my way.

Just as I wrote that last sentence, a group of 20 something men dressed as Jim Carrey’s “The Mask” 90s character walk by the Starbucks window I am currently sitting in.  One noticed me as I observed them.  He knocked on the window, simply smiled and waved at me. They carried on walking. This is exactly what I mean.

Can we be present enough to catch the world showing you it’s warmth and care through loved ones and strangers?  Catch the ball. Shift perspective.  Perhaps life is not creating a war against you.  Maybe life is simply a game.  If you look around instead of hogging the ball, you can see that you have people who are on your team trying to help you score.

Earlier this week, I was listening to Liz Gilbert’s book Big Magic.  She discusses the concept of how we have a choice to be a martyr or a trickster in our path towards living a creative life.  We don’t have to view the world from suffering dark eyes, we can begin to see it as fun and delightful.

She says: “The trickster understands that all this world is temporary, all of it is shifting, all of it is nonsense, all of it is fair game for delight The trickster never dies a grim death in a walk-up tenement while suffering romantically from tuberculous. The trickster doesn’t compete, doesn’t compare, doesn’t beat his head against the wall, doesn’t wrestle demons, doesn’t try to dominate mysteries that were never meant to be dominated in the first place. The trickster just keeps on PLAYING. The trickster is slippery and sly, wry and wise, always looking for the secret door, the hidden stairway, the funhouse mirror, the sideways way of looking at things — and the trickster always endures.

I choose the path of the trickster, not the path of the martyr. I choose it for my artistic life, and I choose it for my real life. It has made all the difference, believe me.”

I concur with Liz.  I choose to see the world as full of grace, love, and a little trickery.  The world is offering me support, and the Mask reminded me this evening to lighten up and smile.  We got this.

“But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That’s what I strive to do, that’s what I pray to do every day. “-Barack Obama

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