I have one house rule that is routinely broken at mealtimes. My children follow my wife’s tradition of praying with their eyes open. I was raised to close my eyes.
My Rule of Grace is that, until our kids can see God all around them, they should pray with their eyes closed. During my own enlightened moments, I have caught a glimpse of my daughter, eyes wide open, kicking her brother under the table. At those times, I’m quite sure she does not see the divine in her brother’s face.
Grace has many meanings. It is the simple ritual of appreciating what lies before you. It is the act of giving irrespective of merit. It is also such gifts themselves.
One of my personal rules for living is to walk in grace.
Life is not fair. We don’t always get what we deserve. Much of the time, that’s a good thing. I’m sure you didn’t get a ticket every time you drove over the speed limit or the parking meter expired. Each of us has been less than nice to others at some time or broken rules and not been punished.
In spite of not earning or deserving them, life presents each of us gifts. They can take the form of our natural talents, some which arose in childhood but long since abandoned, others partially developed, and some yet to be discovered.
One of the goals in life is to recognize your talents, what engages you and drives you. It may be a knack for fixing things, skill at relating to others, athletic ability, an artist’s eye, your unique personality, or your own way of seeing the world.
Often our talents are not so obvious to us. To find and develop our personal strengths can be the quest of a lifetime. Family and friends can help – or hinder us in this task.
Whatever our special talents may be, we must recognize them as gifts, and like all gifts, we must not keep them to ourselves, but rather share them with others. We each have the responsibility to share our gifts with the world.
We lose all that we do not share. That is the nature of grace. By achieving our personal positive potentials, we help the world achieve its potential.
The kind and loving acts of others which have graced our lives in the present and in the past are also gifts of grace. Though we grieve the fading of youth and the loss of loved ones, we must remember that like all precious gifts in life, they were never meant for us to keep. They graced and enriched our lives, and then we must let them go. It was by grace that we had them at all.
Regardless of our greater talents, we each have the gift of relating to one another. We are each able to make better the lives of those we meet each day. It can be a smile and kind word, a sincere complement or a thoughtful gesture. It can be an act of generosity or appreciation for the work of others.
It is sometimes the simplest, kindest gesture that can brighten another’s day. It can transform the tone of a home, school or workplace, and alter the trajectory of our lives.
A happiness exercise: Beginning today, walk in grace: recognize the gifts before you, appreciate them and pass them on to others.