Man, this week. All the emotions. ALL. OF. THEM. Just me? Or you, too?
I keep coming back to that Leonard Cohen lyric about the crack and the light. You know the one. Objectively, sure, that makes sense. I can dig it. In practice, though, ouch.
This week I felt crack after crack, ache after ache, opening after opening. “Ah,” I’d think, “that’ll be the end of it.” And then the next day, more. There’s always more, it seems.
It finally dawned on me, though, how to explain weeks like this, how to best describe what was happening. And believe me, the word that came to mind surprised me, because it’s not a word I’m used to using or even believing in the existence of. It’s a word I’d even say I sort of mock, a word I feel gets overused and distorted. When I made myself be quiet and still and clear, though, I kept coming back to this word, despite my intellectual objections.
I am skeptical. I am hard-headed. I am an unbeliever. And yet.
That word is grace. This week — grace. These emotions, this revisiting of the past, this reevaluation — grace. This pain — grace. This grief — grace. The opportunity to feel all of this, to sit with the emotions, to be here and present to process them — grace. The knowing that it’s not over yet and I have more work to do — grace.
Spending hours last Saturday talking in person with my little brother, who doesn’t live near me and I don’t often see, about our father’s death (which happened well over two decades ago) — grace.
Having a long, honest, vulnerable talk with my mother the next day — grace.
Unexpectedly finding a copy of something my father wrote right before he ended his life that I thought was in a box hundreds of miles away — grace.
The hawk flying by my screen porch, low and slow, letting out a short quiet whistle, as I drank coffee out there alone the other morning — grace.
Having the chance to talk deeply and freely and then do yoga with a wise friend this week — grace.
Coming across a book I’d never heard of but needed to read right this very second — grace.
Sitting in meditation for 20 minutes a day, every day, as I have been doing for weeks now, and finally feeling my breath, knowing my breath — grace.
All these and more, these sly little moments of coincidence, day after day this week, when I thought I couldn’t take more — ha, I see you, grace.
Now, sure, I could call this “the universe” or maybe even point to my own intuition as behind these things this week, but for whatever reason, those weren’t the words or terms or explanations that came to mind. So, grace it is.
Just one of these things on their own and I wouldn’t have thought much. But every day this week, they just kept piling up. These beacons. These totems. Impossible to ignore, improbable though they were.
I thought grace, if it existed at all, would be so lovely and pain-free. Like a nice little pat on the head. An easy release.
Grace is the the push, the nudge, the shove, even, to move you out of comfort and into growth. Grace is kind of a bully, to be honest, but maybe for only those stubborn like me. I had to be yelled at, in a way. It wasn’t enough to send one signal. For me, grace needed a barrage.
Fine. FINE. I may feel like a petulant teenager about it, like the teen girl who lost her dad at 14, but I swear I’m listening now. I’m open. I’m paying attention.
I’m certainly not pretending to be fearless.
I’m scared. I’m alive and I’m me so of course I’m trying to over-analyze and control everything. I’m anxious.
I’m fidgeting, wondering what grace has planned next.
Because I can tell it’s something.