It seems that one person’s joy is another’s allergy.  In fact, I once marveled out loud at what I called the heavenly aroma of Russian Olive trees, or was it Honeysuckle, while walking the woods nearby.

I thought it was a benign statement until a friend reminded me that it couldn’t possibly be a heavenly aroma to those massively allergic to it.  Point taken.  I won’t debate the theology of what might constitute a heavenly aroma and/or whether allergies could exist in the spiritual place called heaven.  To me, that aroma was something indescribably beautiful.

I suppose if you’re allergic to peanuts, you couldn’t enjoy the pleasure of smelling them roasting, or eat them in trail mix, or mixed with caramel in brittle or a candy bar.  If perfume is too much for your respiratory system to tolerate, it’s a pity that you can’t pamper yourself with the feeling of luxury and allure that a pleasing perfume affords.

We still own cats even though my husband has been allergic to them his whole life.  He sneezes once in a while.  I’m potentially allergic to dust and, well, you know where I stand on dust.  It happens, daily, allergic or not.

If there’s an allergy season, quite possibly it’s now, late Spring.  Pollen and pollinators are stirred up and frenzied to get their jobs done, and the wind is helping them along.  Hay fever was one of the first allergic reactions identified, thusly naming the respiratory ailment so many millions of us abide, or are threatened by, depending upon their severity.

Some of us are unfazed by allergy season since indoor allergens are just as fiercely attacking our respiratory systems as outdoor ones. And if you’re allergic to dust mites like me, hello OCD because you are what some have called “shit out of luck,” because dust is everywhere.

Just like wind, air circulation, aromas, a vast variety of foods, and furry friends, one will find something to sneeze at, cough over, weep, develop a morning sore throat, tear over and run for the tissue box in a mild or miserly reaction to some such substance either man made or natural.  When did allergic reactions to this, that, and the other thing, become so prevalent?

I’ve been allergic to penicillin since infancy.  I developed hives.  But, aside from that allergy, I was free of seasonal allergies until the last few years and with each birthday they increase in their nuisance-quotient.  Both my spouse and I have been fortunate that our allergies are for the most part an inconvenience and we’ve ignored them.

I was advised in early adulthood by a medical professional not to test the strength of my penicillin allergy as it may surprise me with an accelerated and dangerous reaction, akin to anaphylaxis, compared to the hives of childhood.  I wonder what’s with the acceleration of allergic reactions as we age.

I never used to be sensitive to dust or pollen but nowadays I sneeze, cough, and wheeze through the days, spring, summer, fall, and winter.  I’m thankful, for me it’s not severe and just a nuisance, rarely requiring any medical assistance, just a passing, “God bless you,” or “gesundheit,” which never hurt anybody.  And, during COVID, a stray look of “stay away from me,” occurred when clearing my throat behind my mask.

It is my understanding that allergies begin with a genetic predisposition combined with exposure, over time.  So, it makes sense that the “over time” bit, makes us more allergic to more substances as we age.

From peanuts to perfume, strange and unexplained allergies have descended upon the world along with climate change and wokeness.  I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg.

I was thinking about the children’s book, “The House that Jack Built,” that always reminds me of my big brother of the same name and profession.  The book flows in a clever verse that I can’t duplicate here, not being that clever.

But, in the context of this tome, it goes a little like this: thanks to the bees which pollinate the flowers, growing on the plants, and which make the honey that can help us through these lovely sneezy breezy days of Spring.  Anyway, gesundheit and God bless you, one and all. 

So much Water

I’d been wanting to visit French Canada for years, decades even.  We, by which I mean my husband, partner, and best friend, one of the trifectas of marriage, and I, got serious about going to Quebec a few years ago.  Then Covid hit and the northern border closed, along with much of the world.

But we finally made it a road trip in recent weeks.  Can you say water?

I won’t be popular in confessing that I’m not a fan of water in the form of rivers, oceans, lakes and such.  But our journey was afloat in such like.

If it wasn’t the finger lakes and their wine grapes, it was the St Lawrence River that might as well be a sea, the ocean-like Lake Champlain, Eagle Lake, featuring nest after nest atop power poles of said national bird, and what seemed minor lake after lake, it was one big marsh after this water hole or that, for hundreds of miles from north to south through Pennsylvania to New York, Vermont, Ontario to Quebec If you think that was a mouthful, take a big gulp of water and let’s move on.

I can appreciate waterways, and have learned as I age to value the stuff as my beverage of choice.  But I stop at the border of loving the stuff “en mass,” so to speak.

It’s not so much a clinical fear of water because I don’t consciously dread facing death by drowning, but I can’t say I’m keen to sit, stoop, walk or live in the confines of a vessel stranded on top of nothing but water.  She shivers me timbers a bit.

I’ve crossed the Atlantic on two ocean liners, over and back, tackling the “big pond.”  I’ve ridden paddle boats on what was Lakemont.  The speed ferry with me and mine aboard, hovering atop the English Channel from Dover, England, to Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, was fine, since, true to its name, was quick.

My husband has conned me into rafting on the river and got me into a row boat.  I cruised the Hudson River and drove across it via a bridge or two.

Speaking of bridges, not so fond of them either, not surprisingly.  There was the swinging bridge of my youth, reminiscent of “Little House on the Prairie,” walking to church from Sunnyside to Eichelbergertown and the metal bridge with the big rectangular holes just about the size of a little child’s foot where I once lost a shoe into Yellow Creek below, between Sunnyside and Hopewell.  I’ve had up close and personal experiences with bridges.  Not a fan, but I’ve crossed a few and lived to tell the tale.

I’ve been known to claim that I can swim enough to save my life.  I took the obligatory swimming lessons as a child and hated every second of it.  “Swims like a fish,” could never be used to describe me.  And my head under water feels anomalous to life as I know it.

My version of the endeavor called swimming is more like a cross between doggy paddling with my head well out of the water, partially because I have hair that takes issue with water and because I breathe air with lungs not gills.  Flailing to beat the band, while floating, finishes the flourish with which I swim.  This is all in the attempt to propel myself forward and backwards, imitating real swimmers.

My “swimming” is a form, as well as functional effort to appear that I’m swimming but honestly an epic fail at doing it anywhere near, right.  But again, I’ve lived to tell the story.

I’ve been to Sea World and I love a good Aquarium.  I’ve gone fishing and don’t mind most seafood but I can confidently say I’ll never jet ski, water ski or fulfill any activity that involves my legs donning any accoutrement, a lovely French word by the way, that replicates walking, running or skimming the surface of water.  Don’t you people know that was an action reserved for only the likes of Jesus?

Creeks, rapids and falls are some kind of beautiful, but remember that the origins of my name, Beverly is the highly industrious, yet troublemaker to small waterways, the Beaver.  We’d rather work the water than lollygag in it.  I’m a serious fan of woodlands.  And, for me, the miniature, winding creeks that spring up randomly in the woods are a sound and sight source of pure joy.

About getting wet while fully clothed, that’s a no for me.  My husband is fully versed in my simple protocol on this matter, yet for a man who washes his hands and is perfectly happy to walk around afterwards dripping H2O to and fro in his wake, he doesn’t fully respect my gangsta about getting wet.  Can you say wet socks?

He loves rainy days too.  I, on the other hand, identify with Karen Carpenter’s Rainy Days and Monday’s sentiment.  They are more likely than not, to be challenges to my mood.  But rain on a metal roof is kinda soothing, I will give you that.  But don’t make me go out in it.

Actually, water gets us places, and it keeps us water-based beings (some forty-five to seventy-five percent), living, breathing, and is vital to our survival.  Navigating the earths waterways to get hither and thither is part of our heritage and our future.

So, thank you water.  I might do a bit of complaining about you, but you’re a good bloke, and ducks are mighty fond of you.

Courage of Conviction

“The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.” – unknown

I’m usually content to be good old neutral Switzerland.  I remain more of a mediator than an activist and will most likely always be an independent thinker.  I’ve been a happy politically middling Independent, for years.

My dad was a staunch trade union, spendthrift Democrat and my mom was a socially and fiscally conservative Republican.  We were a two-party family in a sad but realistic, two-party system.  I naturally gravitated to the Independent middle, ideologically and socially.

Someone has changed my mind and I’m reluctantly surrendering my firm position as a registered Independent, so that I can vote for Nikki Haley in the next presidential primary.  This public confession is so not me, but I’m stepping off the cliff with the courage of conviction, something familiar to Ms. Haley.

In case you’re unaware, Independent’s cannot vote in primary elections.  Theoretically and logically, we should all be able to vote for our candidate of choice, no matter the party.  But given the best system our nation could muster; logic does not always reign.

I’m encouraged that Nikki Haley is a minority, who isn’t a victim.  I’m not mad that she’s conservative.

When she makes it easy to be envious of her accomplishments, I’m not jealous that this woman has won every race that she’s entered, when I have clearly lost a few non-political ones.  She’s been bullied by the best of them, but powered through by the courage of her convictions and her desire to make a difference.

I’m inspired by tenacity.  I’m motivated by an underdog who gets through the race, win or lose.  I’m empowered by people who try their best, never give up, keep their heads up, and doggedly persist.

I grew up with a work ethic and I like hard work and hard workers.  There is no way on this earth that I will ever believe that hard work is racist or wrong.  So don’t even attempt with such absurd thinking to convince me otherwise.  It won’t happen, and of this, I am sure.

Part of the work ethic is stick-to-it-iveness or persistence.  The ethical factor in hard work is that you won’t, even can’t, quit until the job is done, the work is completed, and the goal is reached.

It isn’t racist nor is it elitist to win.  To strive to be better isn’t unfair nor out of balance.  Competition isn’t dominance as much as it’s encouragement to try harder.  If you’re trying to be the best you won’t consider settling for the least.

When you try, when you’ve done your best, when you’ve engaged and run the race, you’ve inspired someone, somewhere.  That’s the courage of conviction.

Having the stamina to struggle, to work, is a worthwhile goal as we age.  So is getting smarter through education and critical thinking, and wiser through the experience of lessons learned.  “Work smarter not harder,” should be the mantra of the aging.  It’s easier on the joints.  But work, we must.

Nikki Haley was an Accountant, first.  She understands a balance sheet, cost-benefit ratio, and small business.

She never has belonged in the traditional kind of politics of double-speak, and constant talk but no action.   Surely she’s an introvert who thrives on meaningful conversation and has little time for small talk just to pass the time.  I don’t know her, but I’m offering an educated guess.

Nikki Haley is not confusing nor confused about anything.  She says what she means and means what she says.  That’s the courage of conviction.

She has been a first before but that’s not why she’s running for President.  She’s running because she can do the job and this nation needs her, for such a time as this.

Some time ago, Haley said that South Carolina had enough politicians in their legislature but needed a good accountant.  Don’t we have enough self-serving politicians in Washington, but need a good, smart, governor, leader, ambassador, accountant, and loyal servant representing us in Washington?

We need a leader with the courage of conviction.

“Courage is so rare nowadays, that one gets cornered for having courage of conviction and living by one’s ideals.  However, it is great to be cornered, since the corner with courage is never too crowded.”

– Jeroninio Almeida



I can boast that I have several minor superpowers which include a remarkable ability to grow plaque on my teeth and a lesser ability to grow diverticula in my digestive system.  Not everybody has these “Grow-Girl” powers, so I’m feeling pretty special.

Superpowers are perhaps just the tools we’ve been given to combat the challenges and fulfill the tasks, roles, jobs, and visions that are part of who we are and why we’re in this place and time.  It’s all in how we define superpowers.

Most of the Marvel superheroes are conflicted about their superpowers.  They use telepathic ability, controlling the weather, super-strength and durability, gamma powers, phasing, and optic blasts for the good of humankind.  But there is always a downside to their highly coveted powers.

In a dream, I traded in a black garbage bag cape with yellow drawstrings, for a yellow jacket.  Something was clarified for me in this dream.  Another of my superpowers is cleaning up messes and sorting bureaucratic entanglements, though I’m not so happy about this Garbage Girl” superpower persona.

It can be bad enough when people tell you what they’re thinking, let alone knowing what they don’t say out-loud.  So, I’m not offended that I don’t have telepathic superpowers.

To know what someone is going through is not telepathy, it’s simple empathy.  Empathy is a superpower that can be learned.  When you’ve shown empathy toward someone and they reply that “you’ve read my mail,” doesn’t mean that you’ve read their mind.  It simply means that you’ve observed a certain amount of human nature and inherently know what someone might be thinking, under certain circumstances.

Who would you trust to control the weather?  When one neighbor loves summer and hates winter, and another friend loves winter and hates summer, do you want either of them controlling the weather?  I’ve heard people say they love our Pennsylvania weather with its taste of all the weather systems at one time or another, but others can’t wait to get out of the state fast enough.

I think we could all do without technology once in a while, but we don’t really need gamma powers to jam the signals we all benefit from periodically.  Which signals do you choose to jam and which to enhance?  It’s a bit of a turn-off for someone else to control your use of technology.

If we all could phase through walls and pass through matter, we wouldn’t have exercised our muscles enough to stay healthy and alive.  We’d all have to have the immortality superpower also, because otherwise we’d be too weak to function.  And, really, forever?

Speaking of forever, I mean, Garbage GirlJust because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should have to do it all the time, for everybody.  Can you say burn-out?

Standing here between Mother’s Day’s in Britain in March, and the U.S., in May, and reading Nikki Haley’s book, “If you want something done,” I’m impressed by the abilities and extraordinary powers of many women to get stuff done.  Speaking of getting stuff done, Haley’s book title was borrowed from Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who originally said, “If you want something said, ask a man.  If you want something done, ask a woman.”

Haley herself, former Ambassador to the UN and former Governor of South Carolina, now Presidential Candidate, collected in that concise book, the stories of some little-known women with superpowers.  The first such woman that I recall was Claudette Colvin, the unknown and unsung teenage predecessor to the well-known Civil Rights pioneer, Rosa Parks.

Virginia Hall was a spy among spies for Britain and America, single-handedly saving numbers of human beings targeted for untimely death while literally hobbling over mountains with a heavy wooden prosthetic leg in the early 20th century.  Nadia Murad endured unconscionable rape after rape, and went on to work tirelessly to prevent others from experiencing what she did.  Murad wrote a hopeful and poignantly titled book, “The Last Girl,” which empowered her to conquer the most stinging and horrific memories of her ordeal.  Subsequently she went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, among other awards, for her work.

These are women, a few of the millions, with superpowers that escape the lights, cameras, and action of celebrity media, although these are the few with merit, who should be celebrated.  Let’s get our priorities straight, open our sleepy eyes and start celebrating the ordinary superpowers of our unsung neighbors. 

I’m proud of you, the one next door to you and me, who has survived the unbelievable, the one nobody knows about, because she or he didn’t want to make a fuss or call attention to him/herself.  Maybe what seem like superpowers at first glance are more simply, regular people doing what’s right and trying to make life better for somebody else.  Maybe we’re doing what’s set before us in the only way we can, with what we’ve got.

How about we give a hearty cheer to all those using their superpowers to excess every day, and they’d just rather not.  What do you say we celebrate the ordinary superpowers of the unsung whom we know and love, by giving them some sort of “applause-plause” for their extraordinary efforts in so many areas.

Appreciation or Appropriation

It’s possible that I have a smidgen of Irish blood coursing through my otherwise American-English body.  Therefore, I feel that I am qualified to pontificate about shenanigans, or not.

My ancestry chart identifies me as having one percent Native American DNA, with one direct descendant being full blooded Native American.  Mind you, according to Native rules, this definitely does not qualify me for benefits on the reservation, or anywhere else for that matter, I’m just sayin’.

I, a white Karen by all woke descriptions, found myself “encouraged” many years ago, by the college administration where I was teaching part-time in the Sociology department, to teach a course in New Mexico, just off the Navajo Reservation, entitled Contemporary Native Americans.  It was a conundrum.

I revamped the syllabus from a “fluff” course of day trips from one trading post to another and mandatory attendance at local pow-wow’s, to a credit-worthy and genuine Sociology course with study of dominant and minority group dynamics, prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping, racism, cultural bias, atop current-events-type weekly student presentations, all focusing on the backdrop of Native culture.

The first week of class I was rigorously and somewhat humiliatingly put through my paces, then ultimately given the go-ahead by the newly appointed Hispanic Student Services Vice President, to reluctantly teach that class.  I should have said the first day, by way of a disclaimer, “I did not appropriate your culture in the teaching of this sociology course.  It’s an ‘appreciation,’ not an ‘appropriation,’ course.  I appreciate Native Americans and your culture.”

Cultural Appropriation is sort of new to pop culture.  It seems to be a part of the universally offended woke subculture, and their agenda.  It’s also associated with the Internet, in that anybody can publicly criticize anybody else for hurting their feelings.  But they don’t stop at criticism or an attempt to educate.   They demean, terrorize, and attempt to destroy someone for offending them.

Let me share a fact or two.  I have a fair to middling academic understanding of cultural anthropology.  I have taught more than a couple of cultural anthropology courses.  Secondly, we can appreciate many cultures outside of our own; even wearing their hairstyles, their jewelry, and clothing, dancing their special way, listening to and singing their music, and eating food of many varied cultures.  There is nothing inherently wrong with mimicking a cool way of life, one which we were not born into.

There is something called empathy which allows us to put ourselves in someone else’s place, attempting to feel what they might be feeling so as to show kindness toward them in a genuine way.  There is such a thing as cultural empathy also, where we try to understand, through lifestyle, “where people from another culture are coming from.”  

Do we have to be Irish to participate in shenanigans, or use the word, shenanigans?  Do you have to be Native American to wear turquoise jewelry or purchase their artwork to display in your home?   The difference between appropriation and appreciation is a matter of intent.  I would submit that nobody knows the intent of one’s heart in its entirety, but God, our Creator.

However, some self-appointed guardians of culture have intimidated us into the fear of being multi-cultural.  After all we’re all hybrids.  But this fear of saying the wrong thing, making a joke in poor taste, and constant sensitivity and courteousness is exhausting.  Somebody called it a “comedy of manners.”

My husband directed a jazz band in a traditionally black land grant college in Kentucky, early in his career.  He’s white, by the way.  But, because of his skills, he helped some young African-American musicians grow in their own tradition.  Funnily, his ancestry attributes one percent African DNA from one full-blooded African ancestor.  He also lived in Congo.

Does the Native American rug hanging in our dining room and the African busts, drums, and figures in our living room, constitute Cultural Appropriation or Cultural Appreciation?  I would submit it is the latter, as we have attained these artifacts out of respect and appreciation of these cultures with whom we have had contact.  We want to share our multi-cultural experiences with others, toward a broader understanding of all cultures.

But then I’m not wearing a Native headdress, Kente cloth stoles, Japanese Geisha garb, or cornrows in my hair, to a Halloween party, either.  It’s a matter of respectful borrowing and an appreciation for the historical and cultural context of other cultures, when we don the garb or exercise the use of the cultural mores of a non-dominant culture. 

So, let’s have some Mexican food for breakfast, Soul Food for lunch, Chili relleno for dinner, and some white boy Tums before bed.  Don’t be afraid to borrow respectfully from other cultures, but give credit where credit is due and blend, blend, blend.

Calm Down

What a difference a day makes.  I often wonder if suicide victims had just waited a day or a week or a month or year, they would have come out from under the cloud of sadness or despair that took their life.

We should refrain from making snap judgments, ever.  We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be dominated by the tyranny of the urgent.

There is a reason that good counsel suggests that we sit on our decisions for a bit.  Even sleep on it.

I recently read something that defined sadness as simply, fullness of experience.  That’s not what we usually understand as sadness.  Rather, it’s despair that defines that feeling of unrecoverable loss of hope.

Either way you describe it, most of these feelings pass, over time.  There is a renewal of hope that shines light on the shadows in most of our lives, if we don’t respond too quickly to the clouds.

I can testify that I have had moments, days, weeks, and even years of despair over this trouble or that problem.  But I have lived long enough and observed my experiences objectively after the fact, to know that usually the next day brings perspective.  Even more poignant, the next year can look massively different than that day, month, or year, of hope deferred.

We all make judgments as we make our way in life. We can be very convincing and so emphatic that our judgments are right, that it is disarming to stand in a different point of view. If we find ourselves disagreeing with an initial judgment that we’ve made, we tend to reject it in a knee-jerk reaction, without consideration of its possible merit.

What if we stood back and observed our judgments with more neutrality, dug a little deeper and saw the situation differently?  We always have options. Objectivity gives us the wherewithal to choose them. This takes practice, practice, and practice, to be conscious of different reactions to the conditions around us, and not just select the first snap judgment that occurs to us.

All too often our snap judgments are negative and carry with them some kind of rejection, hurt, or punishment. If we could only establish the habit of reacting with greater neutrality.  If we could simply observe what is happening and calmly reserve our judgment until we can separate our emotions and behave objectively.

Simply put, calm down.  Actually, it occurs to me that snap judgments are subtly different from gut reactions.  Often, when faced with a decision or a problem to be solved, we have what is known as a gut reaction, or second sense.  We feel we know what to do right away.

This can change, however, if we sit on it for a bit.  Gut reactions are sometimes reliable and wise, but other times they need a little bit of simmering to work their magic.  So why not wait a little for a more objective confirmation of your gut reaction?

The song, “What a difference a day makes,” was written in Spanish in 1934 by Mexican songwriter, Maria Grever and popularized in English by Dinah Washington in 1959.  The lyrics are a study in rhyming, and remind me of verses by Lennie Kravitz, like “yesterday I was blue, today I’m with you….”  However, what a difference a day makes, indeed.

I’m a praying woman.  I have had times of prayer where I am just lollygagging around in the presence of God, and it is truly a joyful, peaceful and uplifting moment for my soul.

After such moments, I begin to assume that life will stay just outside the realm of heaven.  But then, the next day comes and the hammer drops, and it really couldn’t be a worst day.  I never cease to wonder, what happened.

On the other hand, I’ve had bad days where I think it couldn’t get any worse, and the hits just keep on coming.  But the next day “all my troubles seem so far away,” just like Carole King sang, and those troubles have turned into, if not rainbows, then at least partly cloudy.

It occurs to me that very little in this life can be assumed accurately.  We really can’t assume that the content of our lives will be a certain way because of how it was yesterday.

Cause and effect are rarely a proven science.  There are correlations all over the creation but not much valid cause and effect.

A correlation is when something is related to something else, but it’s not proven to be a cause-effect relationship.  For example, someone may be experiencing the blues, and it is raining outside.

There is a correlation between the blues and rainy weather, when they happen at the same time.  But that doesn’t mean that the rain caused the blues.  There are other factors or variables that may have caused the blues in a single human, one of which might be clinical depression, another might be miserable circumstances, etc.  The bottom line is, we can’t blame the rain for our mood, because it didn’t necessarily cause a bad one.

“You make me so mad,” is a pretty much universal exclamation when you’re angry, and someone is nearby.  It’s an assumption of cause-and-effect.

You caused me to become angry.  When that person’s behaviors, actions or personality have irritated you doesn’t mean they made you angry.

You chose to be angry for whatever reason. That reason might be that you haven’t eaten yet and you’re hangry.  That person may have triggered you, from something in your history, but they literally did not make you angry.  That’s a correlation, not cause-and-effect.

So, give it a day, and calm down before you pop an artery.  I can almost guarantee that the next day will be different, at least a little.

Grace Glides

“In life as in the dance, grace glides on blistered feet.” – Alice Abram

Have you ever heard someone pray, “Dear God, give me grace,” usually in exasperation?  As it turns out, we all need grace, and it’s probably operational in our lives more often than we know or acknowledge it.

You’ve also surely heard, “it could have been worse.”  That’s just another way of saying, “there but by the grace of God, go I.”

So, what is it about grace?  When I think about grace I think about the grace of God, defined as unmerited favor.  This in turn means I can make mistakes, repent, and be forgiven.  I can move on because I was given grace by God and the humans around me.

Other times when I think of grace, I think of some women named Grace.  I had a beloved Aunt Grace; my friend’s mom, Grace, who gifted her with grace; my friend Grace, whom I had the pleasure of helping out in her old age, when I was a teenager; and the famously graceful, Grace Kelly, who epitomized the word, grace.

In the biblical book of Zechariah, the people cried to the mountain of human obstacles in front of them, “Grace, grace,” in order for the mountain to turn into level ground or “a mere mole hill.”  It’s kind of peculiar that “grace” in the original Hebrew, is translated, “Beautiful, beautiful,” Why would you yell at an obstacle in your path, “Beautiful?”

That elegance which I attribute to Grace Kelly, must come from the word grace’s origins, meaning, pleasant, agreeable, kind, and objectively beautiful.   I mean, if you arrive at the base of a mountain in your way, will beauty, pleasantness, kindness, and agreeability move that thing out of your way?  It sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?

Well, let’s return to Alice Abram’s quote at the top of this tome.  “In life as in the dance, grace glides on blistered feet.”  Think about that.  Ballet dancers notoriously end up with bloodied, blistered, deformed, and calloused feet.  But we don’t see their feet, we see them gliding effortlessly across a stage, performing physical feats that defy the usual, but make us feel that we could do the same if we tried.

That’s called grace.  Making everybody else feel like they can do it, just like you do, is a gift that anyone can give to others.

A crude way of describing grace is to say that so-and-so has the grace “to put up with” stuff that I, no way on this earth could put up with.  But, I on the other hand, can handle doing some other thing that the guy next door wouldn’t be able to cope with.  That’s grace.

I have my graces and you have yours, specific to your station, place, calling, or path.  You see, we all have difficulties, hardships, adversity, and stresses, but grace gets us through it and usually makes it look easy to everybody else.  That’s because they’re focused on their own path of ups and downs, the navigation of which makes their way look easier to us, than ours.

Marriage and parenting are useful examples of grace in the form of unmerited favor, or you could call it unconditional love.  Most of us love our children unconditionally.  We love them when they’re bad and when they’re good, when they’re naughty and nice, when they’re newborn and when they’re ripe old farts, like us in the sandwich generation.  That’s grace.

Our children do nothing to earn our love for them.  We may like them better during moments when they’ve done something that makes us proud.  But we don’t love them less when they’ve made a silly or grave mistake.  We love them through it.  We love them anyway.  That’s grace, gliding on blistered feet.

Marriages that last have grown in grace.  We spouses love each other when we’re grumpy and when we’re generous; happy and sad; pretty and pissy; rich and poor; smart and stupid; down and up.  We stay married even when there are moments when we’d rather be apart, because we know that a moment will come back around when we can’t stay apart.

“Happy marriages” make it look easy.  That’s grace, gliding on blistered feet.

Thank God for grace.  It’s the invisible quality of life that sees us through the more challenging times and makes us look beautiful doing it.  In times of ease, grace is what keeps us grateful and humble, with a beauty and wisdom which defy jealousy, hatred or wrath.  That’s grace, gliding.