Social Graces Saturday – Grace is for Giving
It is interesting how varied a word’s connotation can become in different geographical regions. Having grown up in the Midwest, for example, the word grace has always conjured up two very distinct and stereotypical definitions for me. First, there’s the sacrificial grace that is discussed in every church this side of the Mississippi, and it is widely applicable to every person interested in receiving it. Secondly, there’s the Southern sort of grace tucked into Magnolia blossoms, hearty grits, and genteel mannerisms, all enviable attributes to those who will likely never slow down long enough to enjoy these charming aspects of Southern living. Now that I’m nearing a half century on this earth, I’m discovering a third, more reciprocal kind of grace that has become a personal pursuit of mine: grace among women.
The grace I am referencing is truly one of the finer gifts in life, ranking right up there with impeccable manners, unwavering loyalty, and the purest of intentions. When I meet someone who freely extends grace to others, it makes me want to snag her as my new BFF on the spot. Seriously. As digital slaves to countless social media platforms, we are all acutely aware of our individual shortcomings. If there is any doubt about a specific superficial flaw or deficiency, that suspicion has likely been confirmed via a backhanded meme or an insensitive blog somewhere along the line. In short, sometimes we just aren’t very kind to one another, and that is why grace is so very important to a woman’s heart, especially.
We need to devote our quiet, reflective moments to like-minded sisters who build us up and allow us space to grow and become. They are the ones who understand what we cannot say. Our more boisterous moments should be reserved for those who dare our souls to spark and who understand that laughter is often the best medicine. They are responsible for producing permanent laugh lines and delivering outrageous humor that makes our guts ache from howling… and they apologize for neither. In our moments of grief, and frustration, and inadequacy, we need only rest in the knowledge that others have our back and will guard our precious spirit as judiciously as they guard their tongues. These remarkable women of grace meet us where we are, accept us as we are, and encourage us to become who we are meant to be.
I’m rather enjoying this new chapter of life where I’m recognizing and embracing the gift of grace. There is a sense of contentment and freedom in accepting others for who they are… and myself for who I want to become. Some grace is for receiving, and some grace is for experiencing, but this other grace, this grace that is healing? It’s for giving. In your journey to be all things classy, practical and glamorous, don’t forget to extend grace to yourself and to others. We all deserve it!
More about today’s guest author:
Michele Hiester Marcum describes herself as an earnest list maker, idea catcher, and dream chaser. From a very early age, writing has been an essential outlet for her, a simple means of organizing her thoughts and putting her goals in motion. After losing her brother in Afghanistan in 2005, however, writing also became her personal therapy of sorts, a way of exploring grief and the universe and tackling all the “whys” that become inexplicably tangled after a death.
The whole of her published writing to date has been shared by an incredible non-profit charity, TAPS (Tragedy Assistance for Survivors). This organization has become an unexpected, greatly appreciated resource for her family, as it supports those learning to live with military loss. While the subject matter might seem oppressive and dismal to some, Michele has learned that grief is a universal truth, and transparency is a gift we give to others. As she states, “I write for myself and my own healing, but my hope is that my willingness to share my private journey might also inspire others to risk bearing their own truths. We were never meant to live this life alone. We all need each other.”
To read more personal accounts by Michele, please visit https://www.taps.org/search-page/?q=marcum