Everyday Grace

So you're having a rough day.  I feel you.  

There are more of those to be had lately, it seems.  The news of the world isn't great right about now.  It's hard to move forward with confidence when everything seems to be in flux, and there's more uncertainty than we can handle all at once.  

As I write this, I am staring at a mountain of tasks, a full schedule, and am now dealing with a series of unexpected challenges that are threatening to derail the rest of my day, and probably tomorrow, as well.   

I need to confess that most days I feel as though I am working from behind if that makes any sense.  

I have this little whiteboard that sits directly in front of me and it is filled with all kinds of to-do's, reminders, and even a few notes that are so cryptic that I  can no longer remember what they mean.  

Also, the only dry-erase marker I can find is red, so everything seems more urgent.  I feel like I need to make a note to get a new marker.  Blue would be a good color or green perhaps. 

But even in the middle of all of this chaos, the thing I am most grateful for right this second is the automatic beverage warmer that a friend sent me recently.  It's a simple thing, but when I put my coffee cup on it, the thing keeps my coffee warm, and that feels like grace to me. 

Weird, right?  

But still... that simple thing reminds me of my friend, who heard me complaining online about drinking cold coffee, so she ordered it and had it sent to me.  I didn't ask her for it.  I didn't expect it.  She just did it because she knew it would make me smile.   

Yesterday I read a wonderful poem by William Stafford entitled "It's All Right," and I instantly knew I needed to share it:  

Someone you trusted has treated you bad.
Someone has used you to vent their ill temper.
Did you expect anything different?
Your work--better than some others'--has languished,
neglected. Or a job you tried was too hard,
and you failed. Maybe weather or bad luck
spoiled what you did. That grudge, held against you
for years after you patched up, has flared,
and you've lost a friend for a time. Things
at home aren't so good; on the job your spirits
have sunk. But just when the worst bears down
you find a pretty bubble in your soup at noon,
and outside at work a bird says, "Hi!"
Slowly the sun creeps along the floor;
it is coming your way. It touches your shoe. 

Grace reveals itself in small things sometimes.  It shows up in moments when we least expect to find it, and often when we need it the most.  

Fr. Richard Rohr once wrote, "God comes to us disguised as our life."  I've always liked that line of his, but I've had to sit with it a while before I truly began to understand it.  

What he means is this: All of the strength you need to carry on is all around you and in you.  All the hope you need... all the joy... all the healing... all the restoration that you long for is within your grasp.  

Because God shows up in grace-filled things like bubbles, birds, and sunlight.  God shows up in coffee warmers that remind you that you are known.  God shows up in a word of encouragement out of the blue.  

God shows up when we finally open our eyes to the countless miracles that are going on all around us that we were too downcast to see.  

So lift up your head today.  Look around and take note of the miracles of grace all around you and in you.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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