Sunday, February 3, 2013

Grace & Snow

It's snowing again here. I love the snow. There is something peaceful and redeeming about the snow. It falls quiet and graceful yet it is profound. Flakes pile high; blanket everything with clean white. Graceful they fall, these flakes, cascading, spiraling, curlicue-ing down from the sky.

It is easy for me to find such beauty in such grace and uninterrupted purpose. Perhaps it explains my love for ballet and other kinds of dance and for those who glide through life and make each action look smooth, tranquil, purposeful.

If I had my pick of characteristics, grace would be the one I would choose for myself. On my own, I am messy. I trip, I spill, I jerk and even fall down. Self-deprecation aside, seriously, I am not graceful. There was the time I tripped up stairs and fell, embedding my Eiffel Tower keychain into my hand. Or one of the countless times I was, ya know, walking and turned my ankle. To number the shirts I've retired due to spills, spatters, and drips would be to number the stars…well, nearly number them, anyway.

I yearn for a smooth, tranquil, purposeful life. I want to be one of those people that makes everything look effortless. And I'm just not.

Snowflakes fall grace-filled but it is their landing that fulfills their ultimate purpose. When they land together, they create thick, powdery heaps, good for snowmen and snow ice cream. When they land on salted walks, they quickly dissipate, melting back into the water that formed their crystal bodies. Of course a snowflake doesn't choose where it lands. It is guided fully by the Sender.

Unlike a snowflake, we choose where we land; guided by the self-same Sender.

To live purposeful, banding together with others who live purposeful, creates something that can be used. To to live purposeful, but let purpose be "melted" by circumstance diminishes the potency of the purpose. And there is always a need to restart.

If I clearly have a choice, why would I choose to trade my purpose for the futility of feeling the circumstance? I struggle with temper and rage. And truly Grace-filled people don't rage--they don't need to. Being rage-filled rather than Spirit-filled violates my purpose; bars me from it.

I had a fight with my husband. And though I had a point that mattered and legitimately hurt feelings, there was no grace about my response. Slamming palms against table tops is never a Grace-filled reply. And if I am not Grace-filled how can I, in turn, offer Grace? In that moment, I was filled with hot-blooded rage--Oh, Father, check my rage!

There is nothing effortless about living life. Sometimes it is nothing but effort. And the kind of grace that has become my idol isn't the kind of grace after which I should be following hard. That kind of grace is a shadow and a pretense. The kind of grace that transforms has already been given me. Why am I not following hard after it? Is it because the idol-grace is one that I make? Am I choosing self-made over the ultimate Grace--that which I cannot make?

Jesus, your Grace is grace that overflows in its abundance. It is perfect and whole and filling and never-ending and all the grace I'll ever need is YOUR Grace. And it is Your Grace that can overcome my rage.

Remind me:

"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." 

The Message is never more successfully shared than when I share it with my life. The me I practice privately is the me that will emerge most commonly in public. And if I don't let the Spirit govern my mind and bring life and peace in private, I cannot meaningfully share that Message with others in public.

So let me be Grace-filled. Let me offer Your Grace, knowing that I am in as desperate need as those with whom I share it.

The flakes fall soft from the sky and I watch them, recollect Your Grace and breath Peace.

Finishing January Thanks:

22--Wrinkled prune-fingers from swimming; smoothed out bedspread over a neatly made bed; clothes folded and put away
23--In Christ, I find unconditional love; never-ending forgiveness; abundant grace
24--New blue dishes on my wish list; clear blue sky today; warm blue sweater
25--A grace borrowed--inspiration to write from other Christ-sisters; A grace found--I once was lost but now am found; a grace inherited--a rich spiritual legacy
26--Peace from God before dawn when dreams frighten me awake; deep and glorious sunshine at noon; a warm and cozy home after dark
27--A mixer that mixes cakes and breads and warm yummies; an oven that bakes them; a fridge & pantry stocked with food.
28--Friends who forgive; friends who make time; friends who pray
29--A song heard about waiting; a soft word breathed to me of lifelong love; sunlight glittering the snow 
30--An old Bible study lesson with new meaning; Exercise with new vigor & purpose; the world through God's eyes when there is Jesus within
31--Reminder of a day off of school on a paper; The love and joy in the person of my friend; laughs in a picture of my child and her friends