[Quiet Thoughts] Of Grace and Gratitude

Photo: The first cornflower to burst from the window boxes. The Husband added them to the box mix last year. This year, the new edition is a “pollinator’s mix” which is really just herbs, so there are sage and dill plants in my boxes, intermixed with marigolds and nasturtiums. I love how the boxes now are an expression of our history in the house, from that first garden that we were were told would never grow until now, thriving and new, nourishing and happy.

I had a bad attitude at the beginning of the week. Feelings of “please let me move on” intermixed with “holy shit, what am I walking back into?” As the Rector Search hit its zenith, so many of my other projects went by the wayside: the writer’s guild, my writer’s group, my new job (augh), this blog. This week, I had to face down the end of the major project and, sheepishly, return to everything I let drop. There were also people who deserved my attention who had not received it in a while. And then there was this house.

One of the most wonderful surprises that I’ve experienced while doing this work is the extraordinary capacity for grace. Grace is a gift given from on high and then passed around from person to person, thing to thing. Multiple times, I entered a space with my head bowed or my arms and palms open, and have found welcoming smiles and happy embraces. It’s always been “welcome back” or “thanks for all you’ve done” or “I’ve missed you” or “I’m so glad we’ve got something on the calendar. I can’t wait to see you.” Never “where have you been?” or “I can’t believe you let this drop.” The house isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The blog is still here. My writing group met today. The Writer’s Guild newsletter went out on time. The world, my world, still spins.

I’m not telling you this because my life is so awesome and I feel like gloating. I’m telling you think because I’m deeply grateful for the gift of a still-spinning world, one that didn’t leave me behind. One that forgave me when I couldn’t do anything other than what I was doing. One that lifted me up or held my hand or listened on the phone or held the door for me. There were many little graces along the way, all leading to larger moments of grace now. It’s because of that grace that I made it through it all. It’s because of that continued grace that I can pick up and carry on.

My Quiet Thoughts are on the wonderful gift of grace and how extends between and beyond us. It is a thing that is missing in this world right now. There are atrocities happening in this world at this moment. Concentration camps at the border. Massacres in Sudan. Oppression in Hong Kong. Police brutality in Ohio. There is real shit that is really happening. I write about the fires all the time. For fires of that size, grace comes in the form of justice and relief, and that comes from something larger than any individual. But the smaller moments, the microaggressions of every day… the little stupid trespasses that build and build into something bigger, grace can be an incredible gift. It can mean the difference between a much meaner world and a tolerable one. It might even mean the difference between a tolerable world and a wonderful one. It’s not just about the grace that you choose to give, but about the grace you choose to recognize and accept. Sometimes that’s just as hard, if not harder to do: to accept the grace given. To grasp the outstretched hand. To nod and accept the solemn apology. To say thank you for the peaceful offering. In that moment when you think you simply cannot possibly, think about the moments when your world kept spinning because of the grace someone else chose to offer. Dig deep and make the same choice. Choose grace. Choose to keep someone’s world spinning.

This blog runs on the grace of your readership. You choose to come here. I am grateful that you choose to read my little blog. Thank you and thank you. For the past month or so, I’ve been inconsistent and sometimes incoherent (I just read some previous posts and the typos are just damn embarrassing!). You have sent me encouraging tweets. You have sent me encouraging emails. You have written encouraging comments. You come back even when I haven’t posted. You have extended me grace and kept me writing. I am forever and deeply moved and grateful. Thank you for giving me the time and space to do a service for my church. Thank you for giving me time and space to do something new and scary and all encompassing. Because of my work, I’m a different person, a different leader, a different writer. Because of your grace, I can be a different blogger: even more confident and unafraid, deeply humbled and able to be that much more vulnerable. Thank you for keeping my world spinning. I will honor that, word for word, post by post. This blog will continue on as a Monday/Friday blog over the summer, but I promise I have a lot for you in the near future.

It’s a breezy, warm day in Massachusetts. Bees buzz and flowers bloom. Our sugar snap peas are upright and reaching for the sky. Our first tomato flowers opened today. We hold our breath for a big strawberry yield: we’ve got a bunch this year and they are big! Thanks be to God for these long days and the yields they offer. Thanks be to God for the many gifts the world offers.

Dear Reader, Fridays are for wishes, because those wishes are little bits of grace sent from me to you. On this Friday, I wish you the opportunity to tell someone you love them,or you’re proud of them. Be it at a school graduation or some other event, put your arms around someone and tell them they mean something to you. Especially this weekend where there are Fathers and “like-a-fathers” and uncles and all sorts of other men who do great things… I wish you the opportunity to see someone and tell them they are seen. For the men who read this blog (and there are many of you, which is bewildering sometimes, but thank you for reading) I wish you a little time to be recognized and treated kindly this weekend. I wish you all very good food: something marinated and grilled just so, something served over the fresh greens that are coming out of the local fields. Pair that with something else awesome: like fresh eggs or fresh strawberries, or meat from the farmer’s market. Don’t forget wine. Wine is the greatest thing ever. I wish you a good book, purchased from some local bookseller. Take a stroll this weekend and find either your local bookstore or your local library. Find something to read this summer, and know that books are written and consumed to help us refine our personal definitions of humanity. Do connect with that this summer: what makes you, and only you, feel your most human? I wish you the rustling of mature leaves in a the happy breeze, I wish you a chance to gaze at the waxing moon and the summer stars, I wish you the gossip of local birds and the chatter of active animals. I wish you the laughter of playing children, the guffaw of gathered adults relaxed in fellowship, and the happy sigh of someone, somewhere, finally and actually putting their work down for a moment in time. I wish you a kiss on the cheek and a squeeze of someone who loves you. You deserve it, Dear Reader.

You are loved. What you do in this world matters. Every day, you provide a little bit of light and hope to someone seeking these things. Because you choose to get up in the morning and walk in this world, as crazy as it is, you set the example for others to do the same. Walk boldly, knowing that you are deeply loved by people who tell you with regularity and people who will never tell you. Shine brightly, knowing that you are seen by those who are forever watching and those who may only get (but deeply need) a passing glance. Give generously, knowing that you nourish the known needs and, in so doing, nourish the unknown and unfathomable ones. In other words, now and always: be your best self. You do more than you can ever possibly know when you do.

I will see you on Monday because my good work, at least for my church, is over (for now). Thank you again for your patience with me. Until then, dance, smile, laugh, shine brightly, and take good care.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Very much needed words of encouragement regarding grace. Sometimes it has felt as if I’m not as in tune spiritually as I used to be…however, I am encouraged to know that grace is what is keeping me, whether I “feel” it or not. Thank the Heavens for grace!

  2. Trish says:

    Great big hugs to you! You and your blog are a light; keep shining.

    I’m reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness right now. It deals with how we move from separation and distrust and hate to connection. This post made me think you might find food for thought in it.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      It’s a book, yes? Might I find it in the church library??

  3. MomLife says:

    I love this! I’m a first time mama to be and it warms my heart reading posts like this. Great content.

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