I woke at three this morning. On my mind were the support groups that I belong to and how to maintain communication with folks I dearly love and will miss as this isolation may drag into weeks or even months. Over the past two weeks, friends have organized phone or Zoom meetings. My husband signed up for Zoom and we hope to use it for contacts with friends and family. I myself have started to get engaged in using my phone for group meetings. I was feeling the anxiety I often experience when it comes to managing media. I still struggle with instructions and fear doing the wrong thing. Yet, thinking about the need, I was putting a responsibility on myself as I lay in the darkness.
I got up, plugged in the coffee pot, and sat to read, always my first activity after crawling out of bed. This morning I started a book a friend loaned me, The Power of Grace by David Richo. Grace, for me, is God or my Higher Power working in my life in a way that either gives me an insight much needed in a particular moment.It can nudge me to move in a certain direction by opening or closing doors. Grace can also come in the form of courage to act on an impulse, to take a risk. Synchronicity and coincidences are often forms of grace.
Drawing on classic hero stories, Richo says that there are three specific arrivals of grace: grace that comes at the beginning, the middle, or the end of a journey. I believe I experience beginning grace when I have inspirational ideas. Years ago when I was in ministry, ideas about how to design my programs came into my head almost in a steady stream. I identified this as creative thinking. Practically, I was able to carry out only a small number of these great ideas. The rest of the great ideas, I decided, were for others to act on and simply evaporate back into the universe. Richo would add to my thoughts that beginning inspiration includes the inspiration plus the move toward action or beginning steps.
The second arrival of grace is what sustains us in the journey, the ongoing support until the task is completed. I think of my marriage. Falling in love and planning and going through a wedding is one thing. Being a married person is quite another. There have been many difficult challenges over the years that at the time seemed insurmountable. Had it not been for this sustaining grace, I suspect my marriage would not have lasted.
The third arrival of grace comes at the end of a journey. Richo says that this grace is always a surprise, something more than the outcome intended when one first set out. Rosa Parks, for example, asserted her right to sit anywhere on the bus. The outcome was the opportunity to inspire others to initiate the civil rights movement. Dorothy of Oz sought to return to her home in Kansas but in the end she discovered her own inner power, finding out that home is within herself. I would add that with time, there are many outcomes to particular events as we draw the lessons from experiences years later. An example from my husband’s life: over the years, he struggled with executive leadership in various jobs he had. As a result, he had a deep sense of what leadership of others should look like. In retirement, he became involved in starting a Boys & Girls Club in our area. All of these experiences came flooding in for him as he seemed to know how to call people forth and encourage them to take responsibility.
Right now I am thinking about our situation dealing with corona-virus. While I leave it to national and state leaders to take care of the bigger issues, thinking about issues in my own circle of relations is what woke me at three this morning. I am flooded with ideas, as I was when I did church work, but for some of these, I lack the talent and energy to carry out. But where I am lacking in some areas, I am gifted in others. This insight saved me today. I am a writer. This blog is an important format for me to share my ideas and insights.
Just as others are finding ways to inspire and encourage through music and art, I hope I can do the same as a writer. None of us can do everything but all of us can do something and our natural talents are a clue to what is our calling. Grace can move us, and grace can sustain us. We have yet to know the grace yet to come.