Tuesday’s Child is Full of Grace.
“Life is a gift, and I try to respond with grace and courtesy.”
– Maya Angelou
This post is about Grace, a word that has a very wide range of meanings. It will focus not on divine or religious Grace, but on the Grace that human beings may possess.
What does Grace Mean?
Perhaps it might be helpful to begin with what human grace is not.
It is not superficial, self-serving or thoughtless behaviour.
It is not shallow, trendy or fashionable thinking, nor is it about instant gratification or mindless self- absorption.
We may experience these behaviours and attitudes around us at times and feel despair. The shallowness of thinking in our throwaway, drive-thru, fast food, push-button society can be very disheartening.
So What IS Grace?
Grace is a kind of umbrella word. It encompasses much that is good in human nature. Its reach is wide; there are so many ways of being gracious.
Whilst our twenty first century culture is beset by the superficial and the quick-fix, it would appear that, especially in times of need, grace can be found in many of us.
Human grace requires an attitude of caring and real giving of the self to others. It is about empathy, love and a willingness to consider others before oneself.
To be gracious is to offer acceptance to those who may have been shunned by society, to see beyond the strictures and judgement.
In this way, grace can be about thinking differently, about overcoming prejudices and biases, no matter how ‘noble’ they might seem.
One area where I perceive grace is very much needed in society is that of divorced couples.
It is very common for friends to take sides and reject the partner that they judge to be ‘in the wrong’ or ‘at fault.’
Looking at this from a new perspective and with grace, one can see that a marital breakdown is always about interaction, not just about one person’s part.
It is also grace-full not to judge another person and to remember that we are all imperfect.
Shame says that because I am flawed, I am unacceptable. Grace says that though I am flawed, I am cherished. ~Michelle Graham
Such grace often brings much-needed relief, a feeling that someone cares. It helps others feel nurtured, nourished, sustained.
Grace is universal. Human grace holographically reflects all other aspects of Nature relating to growth and health, such as rain, sunshine and flowing water:
Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.
Grace comes into the soul, as the morning sun into the world; first a dawning, then a light; and at last the sun in his full and excellent brightness.
Grace, like water, flows to the lowest part.
“Grace has to be the loveliest word in the English language. It embodies almost every attractive quality we hope to find in others. Grace is a gift of the humble to the humiliated. Grace acknowledges the ugliness of sin by choosing to see beyond it. Grace accepts a person as someone worthy of kindness despite whatever grime or hard-shell casing keeps him or her separated from the rest of the world. Grace is a gift of tender mercy when it makes the least sense.”
Can we ever define all the qualities that come under the umbrella of Grace?
It may not be possible to include everything that lies under this large umbrella; Grace covers a multitude of goodnesses.
Here are some of the qualities of Grace:
Unconditional love, rescue, courage, warmth, gratitude, empathy, protection, helping, consideration, respect, kindness, gentleness, understanding, care, humility, thought, courtesy, diplomacy, compassion, mindfulness, peace, self-awareness, strength, tact, clear-thinking, friendship, politeness, decency.
Can you add more to this list?
Elie Wiesel makes the important point that Grace is not only revealed through actions, but can be expressed verbally:
“Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds.”
Grace is a way of being, a way of living one’s life. It is something we all need to give and to receive. Everyone is capable of showing grace, though some do not want to know this. Inside everyone is a place where grace can reside.
Grace can be developed, nurtured, worked at. Awareness of one’s own reactions to others is of paramount importance.
Having read this post, consider this: On whatever day you were born, could YOU be Tuesday’s child?
The Three Graces. Wikimedia Commons.