Sharing Grace

Grace. According to the dictionaries, the definitions range from benevolence to forgiveness.

We grow up hoping for grace as we make our mistakes in life, and we try to give grace through acts of kindness we show others along the path. Grace, therefore, helps us to grow as humans.

In my almost seventy years on this planet, I always strove to be as kind and generous as I could be. Sometimes, that required overlooking past hurts or accepting unresolved differences. Other times grace came easily and I felt blessed to have been in a position to show kindness to someone in need. I found that by giving grace, I received so much more than I could expect.

Now in the winter of my life, I am experiencing grace in a way that I never expected. Lately, I have become the recipient, where I receive grace by allowing someone else to bestow kindness on me. It’s an extraordinary dance of humanity with random steps. I smile in a way I never have before because I am inviting strangers to participate in my dance through life.

For example, I am very short, barely 5’1″, maybe 5′ nothing if I’m in the mood for honesty, but let’s put that aside. Suffice it to say I could legally join the National Organization of Short Statured Adults because I am easily under their height limit of 5’2″. So when I go into a grocery store, EVERYTHING I need is on the top shelf, which is always at least 6 inches above my head. I used to try to climb up the shelves; yep, that was me balancing on the 2nd shelf, hoping it wouldn’t buckle. I’ve also used brooms and mops to move things on the top shelf so they’d drop into my arms.

After all these years of balancing, reaching, and climbing my way around the stores, I give up. I ask tall humans if they would mind getting that bottle of detergent on the top shelf for me, or if they could reach the cereal I need. Do you know what happens? 100% of them say, “Of course!” They hand me the items I need and smile when I thank them. Whether they left home intending to bestow grace on someone else that day or not, they help me. I am talking about all ages, young and old; anyone near me who is tall enough to reach that top shelf shares grace with me at some point. I no longer embarrass myself by trying to be independent and climb shelves. I share grace. On a side note, another bonus is I don’t get dusty and sweaty.

I have another invitation to grace, by asking a younger person with better eyes to read the expiration dates. My eyesight has been diminishing because of cataracts which will require surgery soon. The result is that I have a tough time reading the tiny writing on labels and tags, even wearing my contacts. Several times lately, I have found myself squinting to read a tag, finally giving up and asking a young person within reach if they can read it for me. You know what? I’ve never had anyone yell at me or say, “No!” they pick up the item and tell me what it says. Again, when I thank them, they always smile and say, “You’re welcome” or “No problem.” We share a moment of grace, my new stranger friend and I, and it makes us smile for just a minute in our busy days.

So, what is grace when it transcends the distance between two people? In this season of giving and loving each other, it is love. It is a feeling of helping and being helped, sharing and accepting, loving and being loved. It is the best of our humanity and the most selfless aspect of our spirituality. May your holiday season be brimming over with grace!

Photo by Jerry on Pixabay.

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