A few weeks ago after teaching a class where I erroneously stated the prevalence of colorblindness and then proceeded to do some pretty bad math while a student googled stats and called them out for me to interpret on the fly, I then launched my coffee across a chair spilling it on the stranger I was talking to while I tried to quickly wrap up my computer cord that I had forgotten about and almost left.
I am in one of those spaces in my life where I am frazzled. Some of my crazy is the natural outworking of my choices, but a whole bunch of it is things that are pretty much out of my control.
I’m tired. I’m behind on emails. I find myself saying things that don’t always make a lot of sense right out of the gate. I’m emotionally drained. And in a very rare turn of events for me, I don’t even want to talk about it.
I don’t know if it’s a life-stage thing or if it is having dropped off the end of the rope that all these memes keep saying people are holding on to, but somewhere lately, I have discovered something. I have been on the receiving end of a reservoir of grace, and I am thankful.
When I spilled the coffee, the girl who was getting ready to give a presentation to a group of people kindly said no problem and smiled. Her grace was exactly what I needed in that moment.
Yesterday when the unshowered version of myself was talking to someone in a coffee shop, she conversed kindly and ignored the fact that I was a greasy mess.
This morning when I called the Post Office to explain why I couldn’t come get my mail today, they offered to go above and beyond with grace.
In my current space, I am in need of more grace than perhaps I have ever been.
This space has also been one where I am often thinking about what it looks like to look ok and still need grace.
On the days when I’m showered and caffeinated, it might be easy to see me and think that it’s a normal day for me. But I am stretched and worn out and standing on the ground looking up at my rope and beginning to notice all the other people around me doing much the same.
I do not think that it is any accident that it is in this space I have found more grace. Grace upon grace upon grace offered to me. Letting things go. Offering kindnesses. Being sympathetic. Ignoring slights.
I often think about that saying that goes something like “be kind because you never know what someone it dealing with,” and all these thoughts are much the same.
But for me, it helps to think of it in terms of grace because
I think grace goes beyond kindness.
Grace is fuller.
It is rooted in a sense of giving. It is taking the hit for someone because they can’t. It is letting someone have a bad day without comment.
I’m sure that I have more to learn about life, but in this moment I am learning about grace—thankful for those who extend it and trying to remember to do the same.
Perhaps the saying could be rewritten in order to help us see it anew.
Give grace because the people who look okay might not be doing okay.
Or Have some grace, give some grace. Need some grace, receive some grace.
Here’s to lives overflowing with grace that we have given and received.