|Daughter Jess made this for Mother's Day 2009.|
Merriam-Webster definition of grace:
a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b: a virtue coming from God
c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
I'm with Anne Lamott - I do not understand the mystery of grace, but I do recognize the change it made in my life.
I don't do a lot of God posts. I truly believe to each his own when it comes to belief systems, and faith, and pretty much most things. I try really hard not to sit in judgment regarding the life choices that other folks make for themselves.
But, I am pretty amazed by this whole concept of grace - and what is implied in the context. I think of the fluid grace of a dancer, or a gifted ice skater. Grace was the rule before meals in childhood, a hurried through rote prayer that meant little to me, just something we did before picking up a fork. Once upon a time I even had a student named Grace.
Recently, in the course of a series of events I've experienced, I've been drawn back to reading a portion of the Bible each morning; meditatively reflecting on what I get out of it, and where I am in the space of my world that day. Grace came up a couple days ago.
There are times, even at the ripe ol age of 65, when I feel like I still haven't "grown up". I have all these feelings of being "less than" or "insufficient", or "incomplete" when I think about what I haven't done with my life yet, or what I should be doing with my life now. (Often these can be as mundane as "Sheesh, don't you think it's about time to mop the kitchen floor?" or "You're retired! Get out there and volunteer!") The meditation I read discussed the idea of recognizing incompleteness as a kind of open space - allowing grace to flow in. I hadn't ever thought of it in quite that way before.
One of the hard things I've been dealing with has been food, as in, eating too much of it. I haven't always been overweight - I was a skinny kid and young adult. I drank more than my fair share when I discovered alcohol, and smoked more than my fair share when I discovered cigarettes, but I stopped both of those bad habits 29 years ago. Yep, that's when the weight began to creep up. And, somewhere along the way, food became my reason for living - quite literally - as I was either cooking, eating or dieting. Many of the early years after smoking cessation I was chasing toddlers, which kept my weight mostly manageable, but the girls didn't stay little long enough, I guess.
March 15, 1996 - on the 9th anniversary of my last glass of wine, my step-mom of 35 years, died of complications of Alzheimer's. I didn't know it then, but I was plunged into what would become a many years long depression, that was managed with food. I gained 80 pounds in less than a year. I didn't know I was depressed, I didn't recognize that my step-mom's death triggered emotions related to my own mom's death when I was nine. I just ate. I was a miserable lost soul.
Twenty years later - my life still revolves around food - big surprise! I've been on nearly every diet known to man, lost and gained back small mountains of weight, and I'm still obese. I've attempted exercise while dieting, and sometimes while not dieting, with little success. I walk every morning with a neighbor, and take longer walks with retired colleagues, and stay the same, or gain and lose the same 10 pounds. In my heart of hearts I know, with a sinking, sick feeling in my gut, that I have a problem that can't be fixed without intervention. My theory - and I'm sticking to it, despite not wanting to - is that I have a sugar addiction that was fed by alcohol while I drank, and is impossible to quench sober. I crack the window, admitting weakness and Grace gallops in to the rescue.
"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are, and does not leave us where it found us." Anne Lamott
I've been on this path before, striking sugar from my world and pretty much hating every minute of it. Because . . . I love sugar!
Something is different this time. I wonder if it could be this mysterious thing called "Grace"?