When you think of the word grace, what does it mean to you? Is it the name of someone you know? Is it a word that has marked part of your life? Is it a foreign concept to you to treat yourself and others with grace as frustration, tensions, and tempers often boil over?
For obvious reasons, grace holds a lot of meaning for me. As my middle name, I always knew it would mark my life in some way. Unfortunately, it has not meant in any way that I'm graceful, and I often struggle with being gracious. No, I think the reason for my middle name (and my tattoo!) is to remind me of the grace that has been shown to me all throughout my life.
Last week I had the chance to experience the humbling grace of seeing how far I am from who I want to be. Patience is my Achilles heel - I am just not good at waiting for things - and nothing tries me like hitting bad traffic or being late. Both things happened to me on my way to something that I considered so important. Every single road, bridge, and tunnel was blocked by accidents. Hampton Roads drivers - do you feel me?! I literally could not get to where I was going.
Part of the way through my 'adventure' I started to cry. Huge, frustrated tears. I hate being late, almost more than anything. I hate being lost, and Google Maps was failing me. More than anything, I hate realizing that I'm still fighting a losing battle against impatience in my life. I think that's what hurt the most.
Later on in the day, as I settled in with coffee and some time to think, I had a moment of grace. I was given the opportunity not to undo my impatient morning, but to redo it. I got the opportunity to serve people I love. As I drove out to run an errand, it struck me that I was getting to do it all over. It doesn't erase the tears and frustration, and I know that my impatience isn't magically gone (but...is it wrong to hope?), but for one long moment I got to see that I'm not exactly where I was a few months ago.
Last week, I stepped backward. I stepped backward into impatience, frustration, and overreacting to a circumstance that really isn't so bad. But then, by the grace that is on my life, I got the chance to move forward from stepping backward. I had the opportunity to show myself grace in an ugly moment, and to remember the day not for my failures, but for my small and eventual triumphs.
This is what grace means to me today. What does it mean to you?