I know it’s officially August and the Everyday Grace series technically ended in July, but when Christine Organ emailed a few weeks ago to say she’d been reading the series and would love to guest post if I was still looking for writers, I couldn’t say no. Christine writes about everyday grace at her blog, and she’s even written a book on the topic called Grace, Wonder and Everyday Miracles. The best news of all is that after a two-year journey, Christine landed an agent last week! Whoot whoot! Stop by her place to say hi, and be sure to follow Christine on Twitter and Facebook.
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
— Albert Einstein
I sit on the end of the dock watching the moonlight sparkle on a silent lake, little beams of light dancing with each other in a happy jig. After a day filled with swimming and playing, breaking up fights and giving time outs, cutting food into tiny pieces and helping little feet into pajamas, I am thankful for a quiet moment out here in the dark night, alone with the fireflies and mosquitoes. After a day filled with a thousand ordinary highs and lows, I am thankful for a moment of calm.
I look up at the bright moon – a giant disco ball casting out a million flecks of light – and there doesn’t seem to be any doubt at all that God is right here, within those bouncing glitters of light. Then again, it’s easy to find God in places like this.
Where is gets a little harder to find God is in the less glittery parts of the day – the uneaten bowls of cereal bowls, whiny kids, dirty dishes, email complaints from clients, and homework battles. It can be easy to see God in a child’s laugh and crashing waves, but what about when that child’s laugh yields to an arm-thrashing tantrum or the crashing waves become the harbinger of an impending storm? Well, then things get a little trickier.
But isn’t God there in all of it – in the fierce storms, skinned knees, dirty laundry, and tantrums just as much as the dancing moonbeams, gentle waves, and laughing children?
Isn’t there something nestled within all of these wonders and everyday miracles, within the chaos and madness of this earthly existence, something bigger than the sum of its parts, something almost inexplicable and unnamable?
Isn’t there always grace?
The word grace gets thrown around a lot in conversation – both religious and secular. We say grace before meals. Or we talk about “the grace of God” when we narrowly escape a car accident at a busy intersection. We might say someone has grace when they move with poise and elegance. And grace, in spiritual conversation, is often referred to as unmerited kindness or undeserving mercy.
For me, though, grace is much deeper, broader, and richer than any of those definitions and usages. Grace, to me, is not defined as unmerited kindness or undeserving mercy, for we are all worthy and deserving of kindness and mercy – from God, from ourselves, and from each other. Grace, to me, is so vast that it is almost beyond definition, yet it is so universal that it can be found everywhere – in my dogs’ wagging tails, at the bottom of pile of dirty laundry, and in rush hour traffic.
Simply put, grace is God is made known. It is a manifestation of the Divine, the spiritual connected to the secular. Grace is the sacred amidst the everyday chaos and madness of our ordinary lives. Grace is not just an action, something that we bestow on others, or something that God bestows on us. Grace is not a noun or a verb, but an experience; it is that moment when something inside the soul cracks open or shifts ever so slightly that we are forever changed.
Grace is found anywhere we choose to revel in the wonder of God and hold reverence for the divine miracle that is. Grace is found when we take off the armor and set down our sword. Grace is found when we let ourselves been seen and heard and loved. It is easy to see grace in a comforting embrace, late night talks with a good friend, and in the moonbeams that dance on a soft lake. It is much harder to see grace in a gossipy neighbor, a mind-numbing office meeting, or a parking ticket. But grace can be found in those places as well if we open our hearts wide enough, our minds far enough, and our souls deep enough.
When our vision of grace expands, so do our hearts and souls. We begin to see God everywhere, in everything. The ordinary becomes sacred. The mundane becomes divine.
And we begin to see that everything is a Miracle.
Christine Organ is a writer in the Chicago area, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. She writes at christineorgan.com about seeking grace in the everyday, and she is currently working on her second manuscript while she searches for a publishing home for her first book. She enjoys strong coffee, cookie dough, and long naps. But then again, who doesn’t?