Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grace Embodied

Lately I have been the recipient of much grace. I've been aware of it on multiple levels for about the last 10 days in particular. This, of course, is not to say that grace isn't plentiful all the time - if you're walking, talking and thinking tonight like you were yesterday, you've benefited from grace in the last 24 hours.

But, the last week and a half grace has manifested in my life in small ways. So much of life is about the little things - good and bad. We all know about the "straw that broke the camel's back" and how it can be the little something that pushes us over the edge. It can also be the little something that pulls us back from the edge. In the last few days I've been balanced on that edge multiple times, about to tumble into the abyss, and someone or something has pulled me back.

A prime example is a few nights ago. I was in the midst of my bedtime routine and felt this overwhelming sense of grief overtake me. The tears were starting, and the sobs weren't far behind, and I realized it was going to be a night when sleep was not to be mine. Then, there on the bedside table where I put it every night, the phone began to vibrate. Grace was reaching out to me at 1:25 a.m. in the form of a friend calling just to talk. Had it been 90 seconds later I would have been unable to talk and let it go to voicemail. Had it been 90 seconds sooner I wouldn't have known how much I needed that phone call. Grace. Right on time.

I was reminded of a bit from the book, "Eat, Pray, Love." I read a reference to this on Kether's blog recently, and it has popped up multiple times since. It seems so appropriate in this instance. Author Elizabeth Gilbert is relating a story about her sister and the differences in how they see the world.

"A family in my sister's neighborhood was recently stricken with a double tragedy, when both the young mother and her three-year-old son were diagnosed with cancer. When Catherine told me about this, I could only say, shocked, 'Dear God, that family needs grace.' She replied firmly, 'That family needs casseroles,' and then proceeded to organize the entire neighborhood into bringing that family dinner, in shifts, every single night, for an entire year. I do not know if my sister fully recognizes that this is grace."

That's how the last week and a half has been. Grace has come in the form of calls at the right times, emails, a letter from a long ago love expressing sympathy for my recent loss, invitations from friends - and even friends of friends. I'm touched. So very touched. It's a prime example that we don't know how important it can be when we reach out to people. At any moment we can be grace embodied.

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