It’s a battle for many of us to hold on to the gifts of childhood and youth. We often seem to be born with an abundance of much of what’s beautiful and precious in the human condition like innocence, wonder, curiosity, joy, and hope. As we grow and mature, many of these things seem to begin to slip away, or at least feel like they might.
For me, grace is one of the rare treasures in the human condition that comes with growth and maturity. Wisdom and experience often pave the path to grace.
Grace requires authenticity, comfort, confidence, ease, and certainty. It is one of the few things in life that cannot ever be faked. We instinctively know grace when we see it, and we know when it is lacking.
Grace is a resource available to everyone, everywhere, at all times. It’s empowering. It’s healing. It’s comforting. It’s inspiring. The experience or observation of grace can lift our mood, boost our confidence, and bolster hope.
Grace is everywhere. Many times, however, it goes unnoticed. When was the last time you took notice of grace during your day-to-day life? We tend to notice grace in extremes: in the Olympic athlete or the prima ballerina. In fact, you can see it on the street every day. You can see it in the mirror. You can see it in the most unlikely places.
It was an amazing sunny spring day today in Manhattan. I was walking down Ninth Avenue and saw a young woman in front of me making her way down the sidewalk with a wheeled walker. It was clear that her movement was virtually crippled by cerebral palsy or some other very serious difficulty with control over her body. Her arms, hips, legs, and head all flailed violently with every step. When I walked past her and saw her face, she was smiling up into the sun. The flailing of her head backwards and up toward the sky with every step made her beautiful, shiny black hair move like she was in front of a wind machine in a commercial for shampoo.
I said hello to her and told her she had really beautiful hair. She stopped, smiled, laughed, and said, “Hi. Thank you! I’m lucky. My hair has natural bounce. Enjoy this glorious day.”
Grace is everywhere. Strive to look for it, notice it, and embody it whenever you can.
*Some other thoughts on grace:
“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live.”–Jackie Windspear
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.–Anne Lamott
“It is a rare and difficult attainment to grow old gracefully and happily.”–Lydia Maria Francis Child