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I’m not sure whether to call it a game or a practice, but regardless, my current cutting edge is dancing with the question, “How could there be more grace?”IMG_1140

Its an intention to look for the ways grace, magic, synchronicity, and healing appear.  I mean, after all, it’s common enough to kvech and complain, yes?  (I say this with alot of love, especially having spent so much of the summer with the east-coast Jewish side of my family; it’s kinda a thing to look for the rain cloud that’s about to dampen the parade, as if preparing for the worst somehow prevents one from disappointment and the evil eye?)

I’m getting a lot of practice with this inquiry.  It all started back at Thanksgiving.  As I was driving to the airport, I offered a little prayer: “Please, let me know how held I am, no matter what arrises.”

Right.  Be careful what you pray for.

By the time I got to the airport, my flight was delayed by 50 minutes.  I had a 40 minute layover.  Needless to say, the ticket agent got right to work trying to rebook me, and the adventure began.  I believe it was Winnie the Pooh (or maybe someone else from the Hundred Acre Woods) that said something like, “On an adventure, nothing goes according to plan, but it all works just the way it should.”

Long story short, I was rerouted via Chicago where I got to have a slumber party with my awesome cousin. There, I also passed on a necklace that had been my grandmother’s so my cousin could share the love.  And before that, on the plane, I was sandwiched between a friend and her beloved 10 week old baby and someone else I know; the three of us made Baby’s First Plane Trip a joyful affair.  It really does take a village.

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Drinking grace in the Talbot Greenhouse at Mt Holyoke.

Oh, and somehow I managed to make a last minute ticket change and then have the only non-delayed flight into a New England Snow Storm. And I got to see my whole family.  And taste some kind of exotic Ukrainian Honey Vodka.  Oh, and make pilgrimage to the Interfaith Sanctuary at Mount Holyoke College and to Kripalu, two of my spiritual homes. It was pretty fantastic.

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Family tradition. Mixing a wish in to the Christmas Pudding.

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Grace as Golden Raisins

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Mama’s grin. Total grace.

The grace was pouring in.  Every where I looked.  I couldn’t imagine anything more magical, beautiful, or precious coming my way.  And it did.  Again and again.

That was the easy part.  Then came the home coming and stabilizing the view.  I often spend time looking to see if I can see the Divine in action, can I see divinity’s hand in this now?  How about now?  Looking for More Grace ups the ante.

And settling back into daily life is always an adventure on its own.

Yet, the practice has deepened even more since the new year.  It’s taken me deeper, and I’ve had to reach deeper to be willing to keep playing the game.  Seeing grace and asking “How can there be more grace?” when I found out that my mom will need major surgery (like brain surgery to remove a benign brain tumor)…ya, that’s an advance practice.Can it still be a game when we are literally looking inside the skull?

This isn’t about making a gratitude list (at least it’s not cancer, at least I can travel, at least mom’s happy with her surgeon and has a great sense of humor, at least we have an awesome family rallying to support and love each other through this.)  It’s about looking at the places where there is more grace, more love, more support.

These things are inherently mysterious and difficult to name.

This news has stretched me even as this practice of looking for grace and making room inside for it to come has stretched me.  Mostly, I’ve wanted to shut down or wallow in the fear and grief that arise considering both that my mom’s in pain and that she’s mortal.  When I ask the question, “how can there be more grace?” what room is there for wallowing?  And yet, if I don’t feel what there is to feel, there is no room for grace to enter.

Woah.

It’s the softening.  It’s the allowing.  It’s the breathing into the edges that crack me open, clear me out, and let me become a vessel for more grace to pour though.  When I traveled, looking for grace consisted of staying open to the awe of possibilities magically working out.  Somehow it was easy to trust that everything would work out for the best.

Facing unexpeced travel, hospital visits, and the preciousness of life, grace is softening and receiving.  It’s asking for help and also IMG_2520taking retreat.  It’s also seeing the tumor, the surgeon, the hospital, the scalpel, the janitor, and the hospital gowns as grace too.  I’m not quite sure how that one works most of the time, but I’m turning towards each opportunity with as much (you guessed it) grace as I can.

Mostly, It’s seeing each wave of emotion, each challenge, each offer of support as Her hand, God/dess’s hand reaching out like a Mother to take care of her child.

How can there be more grace?