Grace is found under the surface, under the muck. It’s digging deeper, moving beyond and letting go. It is softness, kindness. And I think we should use it more.
We can lean on grace when we’re hurt. When it’s time to defend we can hold it up as a shield. We extend grace to those who need it, to say I see you and I’ll help. With grace we can say ‘no more’ or salvage something that has begun to unravel.
My early teen years were mostly mired in insecurity with moments of reprieve. You would be insecure too if you had the loser trifecta going on. Braces, too-big glasses and bad perm. I’m 37 and I know how to dress myself and I’ve lost the trifecta, but insecurity still flares up now and then. At thirteen I was lost in its shadow and when it shows up now it surprises me. I’m surprised that I can still want to duck and hide. Surprised that I still care that much.
I’ve learned to shrug my shoulders and say whatever. I’ve learned to say no and I can breezily say yes. I’ve learned how to spread my feelings out, explore them, and come away whole. I know when to lighten up.
But, insecurity happens. It doesn’t grab me by the throat – that would be too obvious. It’s sneaky, it creeps. It is a series of small things – a risk taken and worried it’s the wrong risk, a snarky word, an untrue friend. I’ve developed a tougher shell over the years and there are many things that hit and slide, and fewer things that land and stick. I spent a lot of time burying that painfully shy thirteen year old girl, the sensitive girl who broke easily. I’m not her today, but she’s underneath, and this is the time to use grace and say enough, be at peace.
Lately, I’ve come across situations where many of us could benefit from a little grace. I wrote this post in response to a few tweets, conversations, blogs like Kvetch Mom’s post (a great post on when bitchiness is taken too far) and my own life stuff. After pouring out my heart or rambling (easily both) to my friend Karen the other day, she said, “Go where it’s warm.” All my freaking out and oh-so-many-feelings stopped. They screeched to a halt, actually. I whispered in awe, “I love it.” Because it is simple and good and right. Go where it’s warm.
I have to give a huge thank you to Sheryl and North by Northwest for being so good to me! The interview that aired Sunday isn’t available – the neat and tidy 15 minute one, but the longer version is up. If you’re new here and wondering what I’m talking about this is the post that sums it up. Check out my interview with Sheryl where we talk story, writing, and that Mennonite energy!