Accept grace and your world will be larger, deeper, richer, and fuller. Look for its intimations everywhere. Let this seed of the Giver of Life bloom in your words and deeds.
Spell out your days with a grammar of gratitude. Be thankful for all the blessings in your life.Spiritual Literacy -- Reading the Spiritual in Everyday Life, by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat.
I have delayed doing these two for a couple of days now. I am feeling grumpy, bordering on depression, and the last things I want to be talking about are grace and gratitude. I committed to this little project though, at least in my own mind -- so let me see if I can do something with these "G" letter concepts.
First, to grace: I wanted to skip this altogether, because I find it so difficult these days to speak in the language that is commonly used to discuss "God." Even when it is wrapped in some sort of disguise like "Giver of Life," I read "God," and find myself locked up. One of the casualties of the passage to this point has been my "faith." I have none left. If there is a "God," then it is a callous and uncaring and disinterested entity. Blech!
So, if I'm going to accept grace as a path to that larger, deeper, fuller, and richer world, there has to be some other way to think about it. Like this maybe:
“If grace is so wonderful, why do we have such difficulty recognizing and accepting it? Maybe it's because grace is not gentle or made-to-order. It often comes disguised as loss, or failure, or unwelcome change.” ― Kathleen Norris
There. Loss, failure, and unwelcome change -- the grace with which I am familiar. Should I then accept loss, failure, and unwelcome change...and see it make my world larger, deeper, richer, and fuller. If I look for the intimations of those losses, failings and unwelcome changes everywhere, what will I discover? What strange blooms will show forth? Will life make all of that seemingly negative stuff burst out into beauty and joy? I can't imagine it, but perhaps I just need to let the lessons settle.
And then, there is that business of gratitude, being thankful for all the many gifts -- and I am. Everything I read says that one of the ways out of depression is the practice of gratitude, and I know that there are many who regularly and actively list the things for which they are grateful. I can do that. I have so much, and I am aware that there are many who have so very little. But, I do not FEEL grateful. I feel deprived. I feel cheated. I feel resentful and angry that I cannot have what I want. It is childish and ego driven, and it is shameful. I just don't think that making daily or weekly lists of the "things" for which I am grateful is going to help this. This needs a change of heart. Somehow, I need to find a way to be truly grateful for all of it, the "good" and the "bad." Actually, I need to find a way to lose that language, and know that there is no good or bad, but only life. The moments and events that I evaluate as positive or negative are all equally a part of my living and breathing and being here in this place and this time. Perhaps, I only need to school my ego to judge less and then the song which is gratitude will arise of its own accord...
I Receive ALL of Life with Thanksgiving -
I have gratitude for EVERYTHING
that has ever occurred to bring me to this moment.
I give thanks for the joys and the sufferings,
the moments of peace and the flashes of anger,
the compassion and the indifference,
the roar of my courage and the cold sweat of my fear.
I accept gratefully the entirety of my past and my present life.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie