Yesterday while working with my Spiritual Director, I found myself reflecting on a number of significant miraculous things that have recently unfolded in my life. I called these moments grace. Grace is another one of those weird words, like divine that really defies definition of description, it can only be experienced. However, I have some wonderings about grace that I will share with you today.
In my own experience, I have witnessed events that I can attribute to nothing but grace due to the mysterious way in which they have shown up in my life: Sudden moments of profound clarity, seemingly unreconcilable situations miraculously resolved, mysterious release from long-held resentments, attachments and negative perceptions. What really stands out in these grace-filled moments is the way in which they revealed themselves independent of any significant effort on my part. Or…..did they?
When I look back on these moments of grace, I have to wonder if there was some unconscious intention for freedom and openness and subtle actions which created the ground in which grace could take root. At the same time, it seems that grace comes unbidden. It does not come because we have finally worked hard enough or done the right things to appease the angry gods. But then I wonder, is grace merely an opening in our awareness to something that already is? These are the questions I ponder in regards to this mystery called grace.
There is one relationship in particular where grace showed up in a mysterious and miraculous way. At a time when I was sure this relationship was approaching a sudden death, specifically in the moment of calling it quits, there was a tiny voice that whispered in my ear, “One more chance.” These words were so loud, so clear and went so deep in my being that it could not be ignored. Attending to this voice meant setting aside my own pride, my own stubbornness, my own determined desire to be done. Instead, I had to put on the face of humility and leap into the great unknown, hoping like hell the voice knew what it was saying. At the same time, I was mad as hell for having to attend to this voice, instead of the voice of my small self that preferred to stand in resentment and self-righteous anger. While there were really no actions on my part that facilitated the reconciliation of this relationship, as a matter of fact, at the time, it was the last thing on my mind….but was it the underlying desires and intentions that facilitated my openness to that tiny voice that prompted me to be open to one more chance? In the end, I will never know, but in listening to that voice, I was open to the new possibilities in the relationship, where before I had seen only death.
In the face of these experiences I have to wonder if grace is indeed a moment of Divine intervention, or is it something that is already there, if we only have the eyes to see? It seemingly comes unbidden, but when it does, it provides the solution to unanswerable questions, a light in the midst of the perceived darkness, release from seemingly untreatable wounds and freedom from our own limited perceptions. In the end, I know this is another one of those unanswerable questions to which we can only stand in rapt wonder acknowledging the truth of Amazing Grace!