Saturday, May 30, 2009


Transitions always make me uncomfortable. A bridge is an image widely used to represent a period of transition. The Rainbow Bridge poem, is given to bereaved pet owners. What is it that makes the image so symbolic? I was walking on a foot bridge over the Housatonic the other day. On either side of me was river, the bridge swayed just the slightest amount with each step. There was nothing to keep me from falling except for a cable railing that was strong, but not solid. When I was trying to figure out why I have such a hard time with change later that night I kept thinking about the railing. Maybe THAT is God, or Grace. It is there to guide me across the expanse or change, but if I choose to slip between the slots I will fall. So it is part me, part God that keeps me walking forward. The time it took to cross the bridge was not long, 30 seconds or so, and I could have stopped in the center and thought of ways that I was scared, (the river is too far down, I am scared of heights). But I didn't. It was automatic to continue the cross to the waiting trail head on the other side and my climb up to Laura's Tower. Maybe when I am struggling with a shift in schedule I can remember that bridge, take one step at a time, feel the presence around me that keeps me moving forward and know that if I just keep walking, I will make it to the other side.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Slowing Down

What happens when I slow down, the end of a semester spills out onto empty space. When I am not so busy I start to actually feel the stress of everyday life, the garbage spilling over, the bills piling up, and hours of being alone. Where would grace come into empty hours, when the antsiness sets in? What is there to be grateful for today? Dew drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, or the fact that I am alive, with hours to read, relax and recharge before starting up with work for the summer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grace as Gratitude

Grace is a pleasing quality according to the dictionary. The word itself is close to the translation of "thank you," in Italian and Spanish, "grazie" and "gracias." Giving thanks might therefore be a way to achieve a state of grace, or the pleasing quality that the dictionary asks for. When I give thanks for the many gifts I have been given I get a little closer to a state of grace. This does not always come easy and many days I wallow in despair, forgetting that the hummingbirds came back for the season or that my cat had curled up in the crook of my leg the night before keeping me warm. Grace is a goal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grace has 13 definitions for the word "grace." Two daughters of Zeus and Euryone, the Graces, were goddesses of beauty. Grace is a prayer said at the beginning of a meal, as well as moral strength, mercy, or elegance of form. The word itself bears special significance to many religious organisations. I met a Labrador Retriever at Kennedy Park one day who stole my heart. Her name was Grace, and a bumper sticker on her owner's vehicle read, "Grace Happens." Does grace happen or is it something that must be sought? The ballet dancer would say that it takes years of hard work, the priest might say it is an act of God. Originally a derivative of the Latin word gratus, or pleasing, gratia is a favor, kindness or esteem. Maybe today, being in Grace is as simple as showing kindness toward another. Smiling at the woman giving you a cup of coffee in the drive thru, or withholding an angry horn when cut off in traffic. There are 13 ways to come into grace, might as well start small.