Monday, September 3, 2012

Grace: When Your River of Dreams Becomes Shit Creek

POOR little heart!
Did they forget thee?
Then dinna care! Then dinna care!

Proud little heart!

Did they forsake thee?
Be debonair! Be debonair!

Frail little heart!

I would not break thee:
Could'st credit me? Could'st credit me?

Gay little heart!

Like morning glory
Wind and Sun-wilt thee array!
~Emily Dickinson

"It is the history of our kindness alone that makes this world tolerable.  If it were not for that, not for the effect of kind words, kind looks, kind letters...I should be inclined to think our life a practical jest in the worst possible spirit." (Robert Louis Stevenson)  When I was a little girl, I believed in miracles.  Each night, I knelt beside my bed, closed my eyes, clasped my hands, and prayed to God for the awesomeness that would be my adult existence.  That being the case, you can imagine my horror and disillusionment when I learned that adulthood came with dysfunction, loss, heartbreak, and mental illness.  In response, I prayed, yet again:

Dear God,


This is not the miracle I requested.  Perhaps, you mixed me up with someone else who WANTED to be miserable?  If you could correct that mistake, I'd be eternally grateful.

Respectfully,

Jennifer Nicole

Unfortunately, thus far, my request has gone unanswered.  The truth is, I want to believe in God, a plan, and miracles...  I still pray though my faith has diminished.  Questions plague me.  Are we "fearfully and wonderfully made" for suffering? (Psalm 119)  Even if we are, I have my doubts about it reigning "upon the just and the unjust".  Some of the best people I know have had a pretty rough go of things.  While some of the biggest assholes I know, are floating happily along Billy Joel's River of Dreams.  Where's the fairness in that? But, maybe, miracles are less about divine intervention and more about individual choices (perhaps those two are linked).  I know.  You think I'm being silly.  But just stop for a minute and consider the difference a smile or gentle word can make during your day.  To say nothing of when someone offers you grace when you've earned reprimand.  (Personally, I don't mention it often, but, those closest to me know I have feet of clay...and a tendency toward crazy! In other words, I need a lot of grace.)  There is a line in Mumford and Son's song "I Will Wait (Nothing is Written)" that says: "You forgave and I won't forget."  We remember grace because offering it is nothing less than an act of love.  We don't earn grace.  Its a gift...and, in my opinion, a miracle.




The first video is Mumford and Son's "I Will Wait", and, the second is Billy Joel's "The River of Dreams".

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