Grace and Gratitude.
I think we often look at grace as a something striking, glorious, or magnificent. Songs like Amazing Grace, depict grace as something almost untouchable. While the grace depicted in said hymn is striking, glorious, and magnificent, as I reflect on grace this morning I’ve come to think of those instances in which I’ve received something undeservingly led to gratitude. Often those things which quickly go unnoticed, such as a smile, a polite excuse me, or simple gifts are those ordinary moments of grace that produce ordinary moments of gratitude. With that perspective, we’ve all received grace at some point in life. We have, in a common manner, experienced the fluid relationship between grace and gratitude. I don’t think I have anything profound to say about this connection, merely my own thanksgiving for the journey of grace I walk. It may seem cliché to write about gratitude the day after Thanksgiving, but that is a cliché I am willing to embrace. For I think there is something sweet about this time of year in which all people regardless of religion, race, social status, etc will preach one common truth–gratitude. While I could write a mini-novel on the shortcomings I see within our society and myself during this holiday season, instead I will focus on the shared theme of grace, gratitude and giving.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving 2010, I spent the day with a former college roommate, in the great city of New York, and shared a table with new friends. Thinking back to one year ago, I never could have imagined my life as it is today. While my choices play a role in where I am today, I believe the overwhelming deciding factor in it all has been grace. Ultimately God’s grace, often expressed in the collective moments of grace I’ve received from others. There are simple moments in the last year, and some profound, that fills my heart with thanksgiving.
A letter I received from my Great Aunt Lena ~ Maya renting a Zipcar and going to Ikea with me for my new apartment ~ Faith allowing me to rent out a room for my first months in DC ~ Rich Meyers advising me to change my major ~ My Mom’s phone calls ~ Dr. Anderson understanding ~ Madi Lewis’s car rides to Salem Heights Church ~ Caitlin Hodges encouraging me to attend the church retreat ~ My 4:45PM chats with Femi Kirby ~ Dinner at the J House hosted by Rob Spackey ~ Carpooling to bowling with Eli Conlee ~ Sharing a room with Bonnie Zlatnik ~ Having my brother confide in me ~ Helping a woman at Macy’s with her little girl going up the escalators ~ My Dad’s hugs ~ Receiving recipes from my Grandma ~ Sharing a bowl of popcorn with my Grandpa ~ Driving back and forth from Salem to PDX with Kelsey Shields ~ My Grandma reminding me that she prays for me daily ~ Facebook messages from Lee Ann Zanon and Anne Jeffers ~ Text messages from Dan Morrow ~ Lindsey Coy’s hospitality ~ My butterfly from Laurie Smith ~ Receiving a letter from Darla Ashcraft ~ Having Dave Conlee be my most consistent blog reader ~ Beach Retreats with Ashlee Larkin ~ My DC Christmas To Do List from Chris Golden ~ Making veggie soup with Mary Hynes ~ Eating and laughing with Rachel Brown ~ Picking up after a year with Megan Brannen ~ Going shopping with my sister ~ Ford Family Foundation ~ OSU Football games with my Uncle Kevin and Brian ~ Aunts and cousins who always “like” my Facebook posts ~ Going for walks with my Aunt Gail ~ Borrowing dresses and giggling with Laura ~ Meeting Paige Morford in Woodburn for tea ~ The end of the year party with Kacie Woosley ~ Conversations with Justin Bibb ~ Gchats with Amber Cruz ~ Hiking lunches and naps with Donna and Cathy ~ Tea with Leslie
My list could go on and on and on. These are the ordinary moments of grace that usher me into ordinary moments of gratitude. In a collective form, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving in the most striking, glorious, or magnificent way. And filled with a heart of praise for God who in His sovereignty placed me here, now, for such a time as this.
What is this time? I think, to live. To live life simply as it is. In grace and with gratitude.