Monday, November 22, 2010

Amazing....and Elusive Grace



Mercy. Clemency. To pardon the undeserving. The act of forgiveness.
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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?
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"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)
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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.
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With. Others.

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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.
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I am not alone.
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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..."
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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.

12 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

Since we all can error, why not forgive someones error with a smile. They may feel at fault for doing something and a smile always offers repair.If it is an act of aggression a smile puts them in their place to perhaps understand their poor decision.

chris said...

nope. you're not alone...

You've Got to Be Kidding Me said...

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection." The Buddha

Soobs said...

Very nice, post. This is why *I* believe in Christ.. HE is my saving grace. Blessings for a fabulous Thanksgiving Day, Mandy.

Mobius said...

This was great... but I'm not sure I agree that it is gender related. I am high on the self-criticism...

This clarified something for me that has been nagging for a long time, like a loose thread on my sleeve.

Happy T-day.

Mom et al said...

Ah, yes. How impossible it is to resolve ourselves of our own actions. I'm with Mobius, I'm not sure that men are excluded from this level of self regret. I believe they feel it and continue to feel it, but are just better at masking it than we are.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. And peace to you and all your visitors.

Chantel said...

Prairie--smiles do make the world spin, don't they?

Chris--sometimes, when it seems mad out there, simply knowing you're not alone...is enough.

Mandy--printed that. Taped it to the windowsill above the kitchen sink.

Soobs--rock on and have a blessed holiday!

Mobius--there are the beautiful exceptions to every generalization--and perhaps Maria is right, men just hide it better? May your turkey be decadent...and your sleep deep.

Maria--I suppose it may be more a matter of choice of focus and not what we hide? I should choose better. Have a great holiday...still wishing we were neighbors! lol

Agnes said...

When your finding it hard to forgive yourself... give me a call... I will do it for you! I would and always will do anything for you... sometimes you need someone to give you permission... like when the doctor writes on his script pad..."bed-rest" he is giving you the permission to do it... not making you... but somehow having the permission makes it easier to do! I will always forgive you!

Grace Matthews said...

I am with you... I never forgive myself for anything. I'm my own worst enemy as they say.


Fellow Blog Hopper:)

Danielle said...

Oh, you are not alone my friend. I am so hard on myself and now I am beating myself up for it. LOL
It is helpful to know that I am not alone. Plus I love your company. Now lets fix this shit!

Chantel said...

Ag--you rock, awlays.

Grace--I know....frenimies? lol

Danielle--pinky swear, love ourselves more?

Lola Sharp said...

Why are you not a poet, a writer? Your writing moves me.

And, boy-howdy, do I relate to this post.