Grace is something I want to ponder more and more. I am continuously at the receiving end of it. I may be (or feel) unlovable, but I experience grace over and over and over. Grace feels a little like a pity party - what we extend to people we can't love but who we know could use some loving - but I am grateful for grace nonetheless. I bask in it.
I feel it being lopped into my lap from all ends. Well, almost all ends. Maybe it's more accurate to say that the experiences of grace fill my heart all the more because they stand in such stark contrast against the withholding of grace. Some people have indeed been inspiring me by their grace lately, and some of them are the people from whom I may have least expected it. But they just do it. It's as simple as that. And it's beautiful.
My definition of grace this week is as follows: grace is allowing another person their space, but doing so in community. Maybe that's not the best definition ever, I mean it obviously isn't the most brilliant definition ever. But that's the grace I need these days: I need to be given my space but know that people are still nearby.
Grace is the person who sits next to you on the sofa helplessly watching you cry. They don't get up, they don't tell you to stop, they don't try to sneak in a hug because that's-what-cool-friends-do. They just sit there and nod, pray or wait until you're ready to talk. Grace is watching you spin and spin and spin yourself dizzy until you collapse, perhaps doing a little spinning along just for the fun of it, or perhaps just smiling. But they don't egg you on to spin harder, they don't try to stop you, and they don't calling in a crowd of others to watch you make a fool of yourself. When you collapse, Grace is standing there ready to help you back up, or is sitting on that sofa making sure there is space for you to sit, inviting you to take a breather if you want.
As the recipient of grace, perhaps I am being terribly selfish and self-centered, but that's not the point. The point is that I'm becoming more and more grateful for the experiences of grace in my life. I'm going to cry and I'm going to spin - that's just the phase of life that I'm at right now. And those people who accept that about me, without trying to try to make it more intense and without trying to make it stop, I'm so grateful for them. Those people who walk away have every right to walk away - no one wants to be around a weepy spinner - but those people who stick it out are emulating the character of God. I hope to learn from them, return the favour someday, or perhaps pay it forward to someone else.
Merry Christmas, dear Emily and everyone else who is part of the Imperfect Prose community. Loving the grace I feel amongst you!