May 31, 2016

Embracing Grace & the Role it Plays in our Lives.

black and whte Mary Lou Williams woman piano grace music

I love the word “grace,” the way it sounds like what it means.

Such a gentle word, no hard edges to it, yet powerful. Saying the word is like being wrapped in a cashmere blanket. Saying the word fills the moment with ease and stillness. I’ve been thinking about the word and about the ways in which grace shows up in our lives.

Though we may differ in the ways we describe our experience of grace there is a common theme, a sense of a greater power intervening on our behalf. For me, one of the primary ways that grace shows itself in our lives is through what we experience as our purpose in life. I believe that all of us are here to do something specific, our particular gift to the world. Perhaps you are a gifted teacher, or you work in a shop and your way of making people feel welcome and assisted brings customers back time after time. You may be an artist or a police officer who does the job in a way that sets you apart.

Whatever we do, if we do it with commitment and a loving, light, heart then grace is present.

While some people seem to be born knowing what they are meant to do, I think most of us come to our purpose after time, trial, and error. And the truth is that the intersection point for you with grace doesn’t need to be a career or the way in which you earn your living.

Grace can appear in your life through a hobby, your volunteer work or simply the way in which you move through each day. How grace shows up doesn’t matter, what matters is, once you recognize what it is for you, that you create as much space for grace in your life as possible. What matters is that you allow grace to infuse your life.

I’ve always loved the stories of people listening to their inner director, following the prompts of their soul and giving us a masterpiece. Mozart is said to have felt that he was merely transcribing the music he heard in his head. Writers tell of books pouring out of them from an unknown place. They speak of the experience being sublime and effortless; of being guided by an invisible force, call it God or the universe. We all can do the same, we can listen to our inner director and create a small masterpiece, the masterpiece of our own life.

A while back I was talking with a friend, a talented musician and artist, who was thinking about returning to writing after a long hiatus. He was hesitant, unsure about what he had to say and uncomfortable with how long he had been away from writing. I’m all for following creative impulses so I said he should go for it and see what happened. A few weeks later we were speaking again and he said that he had decided not to pursue writing. While he enjoyed writing he recognized that it wasn’t the art that most enriched his life. Writing was something he thought he should do, but his brilliant music is one of the places where grace is abundantly evident in his life and his decision to focus his energies there was perfect.

When he plays the harmonica it is a truly amazing experience. I’d never really thought much about the harmonica as an instrument. But listening to him play not only always moves me, it’s also apparent that the joy, peace and passion that fill him as he plays also fills the rest of his audience. His recognizing that and living from that place is, for him, the essence of embracing grace.

Sometimes we think that we have to make a decision about what we want to do and then stick with it through thick and thin for the rest of our life no matter what.

I don’t think so.

I have done many different things in my life and each has filled a significant role. What I believe is important is to listen to the voice we hear inside us now; not the voice that hatched a plan for our life at 15 or 20, or even 35. I believe that, deep down, we do know what we are here to do. We simply need to listen, and then, less simply perhaps, take a risk. We must be more committed to living truthfully than to doing what we have always done.

When we listen to that voice, when we live from that place, then grace is our companion.


Author: Omkari Williams

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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