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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Spring has Arrived

Spring has arrived. Hallelujah! Praise Be! I know spring has arrived because daffodils bloom in the spring and this photo was taken in my front flower bed. Yesterday it was a bud, today it's in bloom. Two of them are in bloom, actually. And, others are budding. Spring has arrived. Hallelujah! Praise Be! Did I already say that? Sorry... I'm a bit overly excited. So overly excited that I wore sandals today. My toes have been a little chilly all day, but I don't care. I need to do my part to encourage spring and somehow I think my painted toenails peeking out of sandals does that. I don't know... baseball players have lucky socks... what can I say?

It was warm enough yesterday and today that I went out and cleaned a bit on the flower bed in front and the veggie garden in back. I can't say they're really cleaned perfectly, but they're better. I also trimmed the rose bush in the front. Is this the right time of year to do that? I have no idea. I tried to find out online and I read that every time of year was the correct time to trim them. So, I decided I'd just do it, see how things go, and learn from my own experience.

I had lunch with Julie today at Applebees and I have now been asked the oddest question that I've ever seen on a survey. I've been asked some weird questions over the years, which would be an interesting blog post on its own, but this one takes the cake for a preprinted survey at a restaurant.

"Are you a pharmaceutical representative?"

Now, in my line of work, this is a question I can see popping up. But, it was an unexpected last question on a restaurant survey where the most probing question up to this point was what my favorite entree was. (Oriental Chicken Salad, for those of you keeping track.) I swear. I'm not making it up. There was no other question about employment - only this one. And it was certainly not an open ended one as they say in the survey biz. Wouldn't it make more sense to just ask what I do for a living? Do they want more pharmaceutical reps? Or do they not want to serve them. If you answer yes does the Soup Nazi come in and take your food saying, "No Oriental Chicken Salad for you," or do they bring you extra dessert. Maybe I should have lied to find out. But, I'm not a pharmaceutical rep. I know one. Does that count?

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