Grace, I never quite understood what that meant, the spiritual grace not the regal salutation or the description of a refined person you know THE Grace. I would always hear people say, may God’s grace be with you, or by the grace of God, with grace all things are possible. I would even say it, I meant what I thought it meant. Yep that’s how I think. I kinda got it but not really.
Today I had, as Oprah says, an aha moment, I “got it”. I was having a particularly chaotic day. And lately for me that really means something. Right now I am the caregiver for my dad, he is being treated at a cancer center, I have to make sure he goes to his appointments, gets his meds; some with food, some on an empty stomach, some with at least two hours between others. Since I am an engineer I set up a matrix just so I could figure out when to give what. On top of that I received a call from my son’s school he was not picked up at school today he was crying and very upset. Of course I could not get ahold of anyone after making four phone calls and I am over 1,000 miles away! Finally I found someone, honestly I am amazed this is the first time this has happened to us. In between all of this, I had no less than six phone calls fighting with the VA to allow my dad to have a newly approved chemo drug. Oh and I made a decision to take a leave of absence from work because…..hell if after reading this paragraph you need to know why just stop reading here and sign off.
So I had drafted an email to send out and inform my close colleagues, really my friends, outside the company about my leave however, among the confusion of the last few days was never able to send it. I really wanted to do it before the Holiday weekend, why? geez I don’t know it just seemed like what I needed to do. Honestly, I am travelling back home for a quick visit and I wanted it done before I got home so I could call it complete.
I think we have all heard “as the last straw breaks the laden camel’s back” well here was my last straw. Picture the scene: I just hung from a conversation with the VA and immediately my son’s school calls, through all of this I am pushing my dad’s wheelchair. So I am hunched over like Quasimodo so I can hold the phone and push him. As I am pushing him I stop to dial a new number to help my stranded child. We arrive at dad’s appointment and they take him from me, my phone rings it’s my brother he can pick up my son. Ahhhhhh…..Ok……I sit down in the waiting room. Hmmm let’s see what can I do, oh I can finally get that email sent, whew what a relief that will be. So I send it first to my trusted advisors so they can review it. I am not at the top of my game (see paragraph 2) and want everything checked before I hit send to people on the outside. Now, so you understand my frame of mind I had a rigid idea of how this leave should look and be handled. Well, you know how well rigid things bend, not at all they snap. So what happened when the first comments came in from a trusted advisor let’s just say KABOOM. There goes my laden back.
Where do I go when stressed? To my little friends, the defense mechanisms, that sounds like the name of a band. Actually they are those deep-seated responses that have been around so long I am convinced I had them in the womb. So my immediate response was anger, confusion and that fickle friend – defensiveness.
A big part of my experience here at the cancer treatment center is that I receive news that is not what I want or expect so I am actually getting better at noticing myself react and honestly being amused by myself. So immediately I noticed what I was doing and I actually laughed at myself or should I say cracked up at myself, literally. So I calmed down and I said to myself – ok girl what is your intent? Respect. I want to be respectful to myself, my coworkers, my clients and my friends. And then I asked myself – do you feel good about coming from that intent? yes. So from there I proceeded. I was still a little mixed up and wobbly but I stayed true to my intent. I was feeling unsettled I guess because while my intent is respect, that may not be someone else’s experience of the same action. So I thought of Wayne Dyer, he says, its none of your business what other people think about you. Whew, great insight but a tough one for me to embrace easily.
So here’s where grace or Grace with a capital “G” comes in. I handled the situation living from intent and was almost immediately filled with Grace in so many shapes, sizes, forms and manifestations that I became very emotional. It was overwhelming and so evident. First about 15 minutes after sending the email I received a very unexpected text from one of my daughter’s friends she is 11 years old, and wise beyond her years. So out of the blue she texts me and says she wanted to tell me she thought I was amazing, my first gift. Literally right after that I received a call from a very dear and long time friend, she was responding to my email. Our conversation was so beautiful and healing and then she shared something with me she wanted to tell me for some time, another gift. Then there was a stream of emails each with a special and touching message, again more gifts, more Grace, more healing, more lifting of the burden on my heavy heart.
Got Grace? I did.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)