"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grace


Grace has been showing up in a no-accidents way in the last few days. The word seems to be appearing everywhere. That's probably why when my cat, Grace, sidled onto the crossword I was trying to finish, instead of bumping her off like I usually do, I sat and studied her.

I've always loved grace - as a word, as a concept, as a name. If I'd had another daughter, she would have been  Grace. I had to be satisfied with a cat to carry the name so I could say it and be with it on a regular basis.

As I watched the old, half-Siamese cat purr and shed and try to watch me back through eyes that rarely track in the same direction, I laughed at how many different ways she's actually like the grace of God.

She's always there. No matter how much I ignore her or how often I shoo her away, she's always right under foot, or under chin, or following me from room to room.

There is a soft warmth to her love and it's given without regard to my mood or my desires one way or the tother. She is also capable of inflicting pain, kneading away with claws that have lost their capacity to retract well. Often she is completely silent, almost invisible. Other times she's louder than the coyotes traveling through at night and impossible to miss.

John Ortberg says, ". . . grace always and only consists of what will help someone come home and be immersed in the love of the Father." Which means sometimes grace appears as pain. Or loss.

Anne Lamott's experience of grace led her to say, "I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us."

My favorite discovery is this by Samuel Rutherford, "Grace grows best in winter."

In these weeks of grieving I've been aware of something missing. For the first time in my life I'm not blaming God for this pain, or for my daughter's death, or my nephews, or the death of Christina Green. I don't understand, but I don't blame. I would choose for them all to be alive, for the pain their deaths have caused to be erased, but I don't get to choose. I only get to choose whether I'll rest in God's grace, which is abundant in my life beyond anything I've ever experienced. And I can choose to allow that grace to flow through me once the thawing of spring arrives.

In the meantime, I hold a bony old cat with claws stuck in my shirt and whisper, "I love you, Grace."

32 comments:

#1Nana said...

Beautiful...and filled with heartache below the lovely words. Damm you write well!

Wanda said...

Ah...my old friend grace. Is it any wonder that my year of "grace" (2010) is followed by the year of "Beloved" (2011)? May it be so for you, too.

Lilith said...

This is a lovely reminder Deb. Thank you.

Wanda..... said...

Such tender, comforting and worthy heart felt thoughts for an early Sunday morning.

Donna said...

I think you are an amazingly wise woman. You have "it" all figured out...life and the meaning of it all, faith and the impact that has, love and the fulfillment it brings with support of good friends. I think you are simply -amazing! (sorry, to be redundant...only word that fits!) I've thought about you and how hard all this is, but you are one of those people that serves as an example of GRACE itself under pressure for the rest of us! You'll be OK, I can tell that, and thankyou for telling us!! Blessings....Donna

Teresa aka JW said...

Grace is a wonderful word and action by God. He shows his children mercy and grace over and over again. Life is very hard here but grace...well makes my innards more peaceful.

PS Cats pretend they don't care, but um, they do.

T

Kathryn Magendie said...

this made me want to cry

kario said...

I love that kitty cat! And the two new quotes on grace (I love Ann Lamotte's).

And you, too. I love you.

Retired English Teacher said...

At times Deb, I am just amazed at how much I connect with what you write. Your words here perfectly capture the experience of my loss also.

There are times when I feel so blessed by the grace that I have received that I realize that it is true that the soul is expanded after tragic loss. I never would have imagined the depth of beauty and peace that comes with such grace if I had not experienced it.

I especially loved the quote that you shared by Anne Lamott. So true, so true.

yaya said...

When my nephew died he was only 18...I didn't know how my Sister would cope, or us for that matter. He was like a son to me and a brother to my boys. The anniversary of his death is Jan. 24. I can't believe it's been 7yrs. We miss him everyday. My Sister always says she doesn't blame God, she just thanks Him everyday for letting her have Jono for 18yrs. Someday I will have the answers I'm sure, but for now maybe just peace is all that's needed. My quote about Grace goes like this: "Mercy is getting less than you deserve..Grace is getting more.

She Writes said...

We all need Grace in tangible ways. Yours is. :)

Stacy Crawford said...

It is always amazing to me what we can discover when we take the time to ponder. Enjoy your Grace in all its forms.

Elenka said...

You relay all of your feelings so succinctly. I love the soft warmth of my two cats, I curse them when they scratch the furniture (NEW chair to replace the one they destroyed), BUT I love them so much I am never mad.
Can't really explain it except to other cat lovers. When I'm in pain, holding my kitties and feeling that healing warmth is priceless.

Patti Lacy said...

Deb, you are such an amazing writer. But what's new. I'm not really a cat person, but your Grace...now that's special.
Thanks.
Patti

Gammary said...

I really needed to read this tonight. Thanks Deb.
Love,
Mary

Barb said...

I'm glad your Grace reminded you of this blessing, Deb.

Tabitha Bird said...

Wow, you are truly a woman of wisdom. I admire you greatly, Dab. And hugs :)

Tabitha Bird said...

Sorry. I meant Deb, not Dab!

Suzy said...

You are grace itself.

Love you

Suzy

Leslie said...

I have 3 little kitties, Deb, and your post made me look at them (and their sometimes annoying habits!) in a different way. Especially my oldest, who is getting more frail by the day. LOVE THIS BLOG!!

LauraX said...

Deb, what words could follow what you have shared so eloquently, your own thoughts and collected trophies...resting in God's grace, abundant and ever present...rest easy my friend, be cradled and rocked, comforted, supported while you return the same to your sweet kitty companion, with eyes going this way and that.

Amber said...

"John Ortberg says, ". . . grace always and only consists of what will help someone come home and be immersed in the love of the Father." Which means sometimes grace appears as pain. Or loss."--

Wow, yes. It is hard to look at it like that, but it is so obvious!

This post touches me deeply. Give me so much to think about. I am greatful you are resting in the Grace this winter.

Love.

:)

Carrie Link said...

Anne Lamott at her best. Great post!

Sandi said...

How serendipitous that you would write about grace on the same day that I added that Anne Lamott quote to my blog! (That's when I emailed to tell you I can't seem to make the font bigger!) I had planned to write about grace, but didn't get to it! I have this beautiful hand painted plate on my wall that Jess made and gave me for my birthday last year, with that quote on it. Just another connection, and reminder that grace surrounds us, supports and lifts us when we least expect.
Love and hugs

Terri Tiffany said...

Beautiful. Grace is always waiting for us if we reach out and take it:) SOunds like you are.

Linda Myers said...

Grace - such a gift.

Janna Qualman said...

Excellent post. There is much to learn--about grace and so much more--if we only hold on instead of brush away.

Love this, Deb.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Beautiful. Thank you for this reminder.

colbymarshall said...

Aw, that's sweet. And there's nothing wrong with your cat being Grace...I am a cate lover and believe pets provide quite a lot of comfort. :-)

Linda Hoye said...

Lovely. Sometimes a visual reminder of that which is invisible is what we need to remind us of the blessings all around us.

Kathryn Grace said...

For all the grace in your life just now I give thanks. For Grace in your life, healer that she is, I give deepest gratitude.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Sometimes such lovely words come out of our grief. Grace to you, Deb.