What We Mean When We Say “Grace”
You’ve heard the word. You’ve probably used it. But what does it really mean? This week, we asked ourselves the same question.
Grace. It’s a beautiful, mysterious, powerful little word.
At first blush, it might evoke images of a dancer, floating effortlessly with her gorgeous lines and impossible elegance. It might hold religious significance, or be synonymous with prayer. You might try looking up “grace” in the dictionary, only to find so many meanings you feel more confused than before.
Grace can be hard to define. But when taken together, all these images and definitions seem to agree that grace is some sort of beautiful gift. It’s an act of beneficence, given freely by a seemingly superior party to another in need.
But grace is not just softness or ease; it’s power, too. After all, a dancer is only able to appear effortless because she is powered by incredible strength.
To us, grace is just that -- a balance of strength and surrender. It’s the act of giving your best effort and letting go. Grace is part forgiveness, part hope, part bravery – a balm that can fill the painful space when reality doesn’t quite meet up to expectation.
Writer Anne Lamott says: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
Grace is a gift that changes people. Often we speak of it as something we give to others, but we think grace is at its most transformative when we give it to ourselves. And this doesn’t have to be some grand act of restitution or moment of divine intervention -- the beautiful thing about grace is how everyday it can be.
So what do we mean when we talk about grace? We mean simple gifts -- small moments of forgiveness and resolve.
We mean telling your hair you like it when it’s having a bad day. We mean not acting out of anger, even if you have a realllly good reason to be angry. We mean existing in the mindset of try, try again.
When we talk about grace, we mean finding the balance between expectation and acceptance, between grit and self-care, between the superstars we hope to be tomorrow and the humans we are today.