“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.