Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Grace

A blogger friend of mine is grieving his failed marriage. Despite his own fascinatingly checkered past, he remained true to his wife, cherished their marriage, and adores their toddler daughter.  But the union ended, through no major fault of his.

As blog writers and blog readers, all we really know of each other is what we choose to share of ourselves. But, much the way our brains fill in a missing letter in a wrd in order to make sense of it, we tend to fill out the empty places in the bloggers' self portraits and believe we really do know them.

In a recent post, my friend wrote yet again of his pain and his grief, and he pondered exposing all of his estranged wife's failings and hurts to him. He pondered, but he did not act.

One reader-commenter said he was being gallant. I thought about the post for a few days and then reached this conclusion:

The God that my friend doesn't acknowledge created mankind in His image. One way of thinking about that is "There is that of God in every person."

One of the sublime and basically incomprehensible characteristics of God is grace. Grace, as in mercy toward one who is undeserving, a kindness rendered by one who is not required to do so.

As a Lutheran who spends her days with Quakers, I claim to recognize Grace when I see it.

What is intriguing me today is the new profound awareness that even those who do not believe God exists have been created in His image and, therefore, do godly things unaware.


14 comments:

creativedawn said...

I concur! God bless him...
hugz
Pam

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Nice reflection.
A friend of ours, actually one of my husband's best friends, and I knew him well in another context, NEVER said one bad word about his wife or that the marriage was in trouble. I didn't know her well then, but what she did say, after they split was that, of course, he was the problem. Observing her in several contexts in the next few years made me realize that she had mental problems and didn't even fulfill her job very well.

I give the male person in that situation high praise for not saying anything negative. It was grace, as you say. They are both people of faith, but she didn't act graceful. We can't know what goes on behind closed doors, but we can see that actions in other contexts reflect on our character.

PattiCakes said...

A friend from long ago became a pastor after having had a very successful business career. He got the proverbial call to serve God. The phrase that served as his mantra was: "I am in the Father, and the Father in me". Isn't that also a good description of grace? And do you really need to beleive in God to have that grace within you?

Quiltdivajulie said...

Lovely post . . . how wonderful that grace exists whether the person knows/believes it or not . . .

Laurie said...

And then there's Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh...

(Oh! Sorry! Spoiled the mood, didn't I?) :-)

On topic, though, I was just discussing grace with my husband's niece over Christmas and was reminded yet again what an amazing thing it is. (No cliche intended.) I think I'll try to make grace my "thing" for 2010 -- something to aim for in my own actions, something to recognize in others, and a prism to see God at work in the world.

Lovely and thought-provoking post.

KimQuiltz said...

I agree! I have an atheist dear friend and in a conversation the other day she told me that she would have to see the burning bush in her front yard in order to believe. I told her to be careful what she asks for and that perhaps she should buy a fire extinguisher...her slightly nervous laugh in response gave me a little hope. *G*

wordmama said...

As a matter of fact, I read the same post the other day. I could feel his suffering. I am glad you shared your thoughts about grace. It's a word, along with mercy, that we say, but don't always fully understand. The more you think about it, the more amazing God's grace becomes.

frank said...

words sent out can't be gathered back. hard lesson to learn especially if there are children.

Gari said...

Years ago my DH and I sang in churches. One of the songs that always touched my heart was Amazing Grace. When Ising it and really listen to the words I am filled with awe at this gift God has given us.

John said...

Grace is a big word and not necessarily a word used by Quakers (although the concept is deeply rooted in Quaker belief). I am always drawn to the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. Jesus knows the woman's past but doesn't say. He is not there to judge, but to accept and forgive. What a powerful image for us who live in a world where we seem to know much too much about other's' failings (TMI) and are not so drawn to forgiving.

quiltmom said...

My grandmother's name was Grace and she epitomized the word- in the way she carried herself and the ways in which she spoke and treated others.

Whatever one believes, how we treat each other reflects not only on the other person but on ourselves. There is a wonderful children's book called " How full is your bucket?" and the story is about a young boy who learns this lesson from his grandfather. The grandfather talks about if we put down others then we not only take from another's person's bucket but we take from our own bucket of life.
The other thing that I thought about was that my parents always made a point to not say things out of anger or hurt because once said they could not be taken back. Perhaps your blog friend was given those same lessons - he is be commended particularly because there is a young child involved.

Nice reflective piece Nancy
Regards,
Anna

Little Mysteries said...

Nice post. Grace is an amazing thing.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

John makes a good point. When some public figure falls off the false pedestal, and the commentators fly like buzzards around the not-dead body, I always wonder if they would want to be judged by the same standards that they are proclaiming.

In Minnesota, we currently have a candidate for governor who has been in various government positions a long time, including in the US senate. He has recently been very honest about falling off the wagon while in office. What will that admission do to him? Maybe that honesty will resonate with some people, but I'm sure there will be buzzards, not graceful doves.

Annie of Blue Gables said...

such a sweet post, Nancy. Thank you.
~a