When have you experienced grace in your life? I try to notice the little things but I don’t always see them as grace. Grace allows us to regenerate, to inspire others, to impart strength to endure, to assist, to give even when it isn’t deserved. Grace brings holy moments into our lives.
There is grace in each rising of the sun on a new day. In the response of neighbor to a call for help, even just to tighten a loose belt on a piece of equipment. In the unexpected card arriving in the mail with that simple message that says, “I care and I think of you.” In the arms that wrap around and hold you close when you are hurting.
We need more grace in our lives. And we must show more grace to others. I remember a saying that teaches grace, “You can’t get mad at a cat for being a cat.” It applies to everything. It’s easier to jump to anger, but we are called to grace. Let grace abound, even if it’s only in one tiny encounter.
Many are gearing up for the start of the final season of Game of Thrones, myself included. Although, I won’t get to watch them until the season is over. Meanwhile, we are having our own season of fire and ice. Expecting a high of 80 degrees today with 35 MPH winds, the fire danger is high.
But, I guess if there is a spark, the rain changing to snow with blizzard conditions ought to put it out. The predicted snow ranges anywhere from 1-8 inches and the winds at 35-40 sustained with possible gusts upwards of 60. Right now, baby calves are charging around the pasture playing various games of tag and red rover. Perhaps on Thursday, those will change to “let’s dig a snow fort.”
No matter where you are, we all do our best to prepare for incoming weather. But that doesn’t always guarantee that everything will come up daisies. But there is blessing in the work and in the fierce beauty of the wind and weather, and God is good all the time. Plus, we do have a store of hot cocoa on the ready.
The sounds of the helicopter blades slicing through the air were unmistakable, causing the girl to shade her eyes as she looked up trying to locate it. The day was partly cloudy giving the copter some cover. Pearl had been half way to the windmill, checking the new born calves and their mammas when she stopped. It wasn’t a foreign sound, but it was pretty rare out here in the boonies.
As she wondered whether it was a med-copter, the little red car crept along the road on the south edge of the pasture. That too was odd. It reminded her that she’d seen it yesterday down on the mile line. Focused on the heifer who was busy learning how to mother her first calf, she’d forgotten that she was going to get the binoculars and check out what was going on. It was no no-one she knew and the mail carrier’s car, although red, was much smaller. This one was some kind of little Subaru or something similar.
And now, as the car slowed and stopped a quarter mile north of the spot where she was standing, she cursed herself for walking out the door without her little pistol.
As a writer, I write in order to bring hope and light to readers. I write from a place that no one else can, and yes, that’s true for everyone. I read stories and can’t help but think about how the writer constructed them. I experience people and places and consider the various story lines that might come from them.
I see the little house finch on my feeder and wonder what he could reveal from his travels and his tiny little bird’s eye view. And when he ducks into the lilac bushes, what magical world is unfolding there?
At the dance on Saturday night, there was a lovely couple who danced almost every dance together, but who were also open to dancing with others. They were a grandmother and grandson and it was such grace to see into their world of love. She wanted to be sure he knew how to dance, and he was all long legs and willingness. And as the evening slid from dance-to-dance, he began to count the beats less and find his rhythm. His smile told a story to be sure.
My students have been reading Antigone and debating the fate vs. predestination vs. chance vs. choice arguments. The discussion circles around until it is difficult to tell one concept from another. Once they have decided what the characters believe, they are to try to relate it to today’s world and their own beliefs.
Then the conversation gets really interesting. These thirteen and fourteen-year olds are certain about how things work in their lives, but then it gets all fuddled up and circles around again when one of them adds some new observation. Are we doomed to fate? Are we simply following a well-crafted plan that we can’t escape? Are we just moving from one thing to the next haphazardly? Do we have any choice?
I don’t have the answers. But I love the exchange and the way they make me think and reexamine. And ultimately, looking at the some of the choices I’ve made, I’m fairly certain that they were my own darn fault. However, next time I order double dessert, I’m most definitely going to blame it on predestination!
Out of the ashes. Many things rise out of the ashes. The phoenix, of course, rises from the ashes with new life. Islands are formed out of the ashes of volcanoes. When fire and destruction come, we find strength and hope in each other and we rise up to begin again. It doesn’t always happen in a moment. We need time to find our way again, to struggle through the grey clouds, to step around the smoldering embers of what we had to leave behind.
And we cannot, need not, struggle alone, though we often do. Where can we turn? Who will understand? We tell ourselves that no one wants to hear our troubles. No one else seems to be struggling. So, what are we to do? I believe that we are never alone. Like it or not, God is with us. And all we need to do is get up each day, breathe, do what is necessary and from there, do what is possible.
We can be the smile that someone desperately needs. We can be the hand reaching out to help carry the load. We can be the heart that listens without judgement. We can be there to sooth wounds, provide transportation, share a cup of coffee and cookies, or simply sit in silent company.
Out of the ashes, we rise together and walk, and the view is all the sweeter for having shared it.
Has it been six years? I cannot believe the way time passes by and how one glance at the calendar brings it all back.
I miss her. The little sister I shared a bunk bed with, huddled in the cold to stay warm with, shared my fears and secrets with, and fought like cats and dogs with is not here anymore for me to call, to rely on, to argue with, or to share my children’s lives with.
I miss her. Her sarcasm could pull me right out of any “feeling sorry for myself” mood. Her compassion could overwhelm and bring me to tears. Her “adventures” with Alex could make me crazy. I can still hear her encouraging toddler Lynne to say “Hairpin” for airplane because she thought it was funny to see that little hand pointed skyward at the plane passing overhead.
I miss her. Lavender oils and unaligned chis. Dixie Chicks and R. Carlos Nakai. Malted milk ball eggs and organic soy milk. Mountain paths and sunny beaches.
We miss her. My sisters and brothers have stepped into those roles Cathy played in my life. We share the pain and grief of her loss, and we can smile now and laugh remembering life with our little sister.
Life does not always give us time to say, “I love you,” time to find joy in tomorrow, time to “get to that at some point,” time to—fill-in-the-blank. Say it now. Do it now. Be it now.