My neighborhood is in charge of hosting church services at one of the local hospitals and I got asked to give a three-minute talk last week on grace. I put together a few thoughts and learned something important that is changing my life, I think, in a very good way.
I pointed out that I usually thought of grace in terms of “saving grace,” the gift of God that blots out our sins and allows us to return to Him after mortal life ends. But I realized that grace is much, much more than just that (though saying “just” that sounds funny!).
Grace is included in everything God gives us that we don’t deserve based on our own merit (which isn’t much, if anything, since the whole universe belongs to Him). That includes the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, the sun that rises every day, and everything we see every day. In short, we are literally swimming in grace at all times, and that idea has begun to change a very important paradigm for me.
Somewhere along the way, when I was very young, I picked up the idea that I’m all on my own. That I have to do most things by myself. That I shouldn’t ask for help, shouldn’t show weakness, and that depending on others can lead to trouble. I thought I could take care of everyone else, and I didn’t need anything for myself. I remember thinking that at three or four years old and again at seven and eight. I was wrong, of course, but somewhere along the way, that idea got reinforced, and maybe that’s why my life kinda looks that way now.
The thing is, as I pondered the grace that surrounds me nonstop, I pictured it filling the air and the spaces between objects. That’s when I noticed that it seemed to always hover about ten inches away from my body, and that’s when I realized why I have felt so cut off and alone. I didn’t let it in. Maybe I didn’t let anything in, at least not often enough.
When that awareness dawned on me, it began to change, began to mix with my body like watercolor paint mixes in a glass of water. I immediately began to feel different. Better. Comforted. Stronger. More hopeful. Happier. Lighter. More connected to…something. To everything, I suppose.
All that happened just two hours ago so I can’t yet say how significant this change – just one among thousands of other shifts and epiphanies – will affect my life, but so far, it looks promising.