Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grace and Peace

I have people in my life who sign all their emails with with "Cheers!" or "Blessings" or "Best." But one in particular uses "Grace and Peace." This simple phrase weaves in and out of Paul's letters in the New Testament, almost always followed by " you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." It's something I've read dozens of times that's never sunk in til this morning.

It's Thanksgiving, and, yeah, I'm supposed to be thankful. But sometimes I find it an impossible assignment. There are always loved ones struggling in some capacity, unmet needs, unfulfilled hopes. There's that stupid extra weight, or health challenges, or a shortage of time, or a conflict or three.

Things are not always as I would have them.

The grace part--the thing that smooths out the edges and makes each new day at least marginally doable--has to come first. And since that's an undeserved gift that we can't manufacture for ourselves, we've got to at least be aware of its existence. We've all been shown it, likely at some of our worst moments; it's the grease that keeps things running.

And then peace--glorious peace--follows: Likely you've had a glimpse of this, too, recently. The baby finally falls asleep, the job finally comes through, the teen finally gets home (even if it's 3 a.m.). It can range from a momentary glimpse to sheer relief to some stunningly clear vision, in the midst of imperfection.

You know peace when you feel it, just as you know what life feels like in its absence.

Somehow this morning, in between making a disgusting turkey hand puppet to completely gross out my daughter (just because I love to make her laugh), to talking to my big brother, to anticipating a houseful of friends 'cause we don't have much family nearby, I accepted some grace and got the peace to boot. It's a Thanksgiving first since my divorce, all those years ago, and I'm so incredibly aware of their presence right now I hardly know what to do with myself.

I don't have any illusions that this will last. And that's OK--they will come again. But for now, I feel them, this remarkable duo, on either side of me as I type, and I'm more thankful than I've been in a long time.

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