Mercy. Clemency. To pardon the undeserving. The act of forgiveness. .
How often in our somewhat careless society to we ask for grace? Weekly? Daily? For some, hourly? As we stumble over each other's feelings, drop the proverbial ball, or mishandle our responsibilities--we apologize. We explain. We excuse. But is this the same as grace?.
"Giving grace" is forgiving one who has NOT apologized. (either by choice or opportunity) There is no groveling, no begging or bootlicking. No atonement...no reparation. It's the driver that cuts you off at the exit. The abhorrently rude woman at the bank who jumped line and then gave you "the look." The market cashier who dropped your carefully chosen, bruiseless golden apples into the bag like pond stones ensuring them to be a brown mottled mess tomorrow. (wretch).
I do actually forgive easily. I'm the one who always has a "perhaps" waiting to eradicate blame. "Perhaps he's late to the hospital and his wife is having a baby." "Perhaps she has a migraine." "Perhaps they're lost..." From the irresponsible to the downright ill-mannered, I can usually come up with a possible explanation for "why" whatever thoughtless event has occurred.
And therein lies the mess. *sigh* I don't, I cannot, I am seemingly unable to give grace to myself. Floating in this vast sea of love and forgiveness--I am choking on self-recrimination, drowning in personal disparagement. The repeating reel playing over and over in my mind, what I could have said or should have done, becoming a mantra that deafens reason, mutes anything even resembling sweet intangible grace. It matters not the size of error....just that it was mine.
I am not alone.
Within this quagmire of culpability I have much company--mostly female, I admit. Is it in our chromosomes? Our blood? I do know men who feel intense guilt, but usually not for the aeons that my fellow women seem to suffer. The masculine ability to wrap the situation up in a neat package, tie it with string, and tuck it away in "storage" stuns me. How do I learn this? Is there a class I can take? Can we start a support group? "Love Thyself..."
I've always known that grace was elemental--irrevocably essential--in every relationship. And yet I am surprised to discover at this point in my life....that this is also true of myself.
And so, as this holiday season is creeping up simply loaded with opportunities for faux pas, disasters & mishaps, I am determined to be gentler to myself. More understanding...
Sometimes I actually do have a smashing headache after an exhausting day and I know there's a stain on my sleeve and I burned the pastry and I've completely forgotten the directions to the party.