After working 8 hours on my feet and getting ready to walk the dog this late one more time in the freezing cold and go to bed - I remember and think WAIT! It's Advent. It's Day 6. I"m obliged. And, immediately I am both groaning and full of grace. Funny how those things both happen at once. On a regular basis.
So, at the point I was thinking, 'When I get home I need to finish that Advent post . . . ' I was thinking of all the things I had been wanting to say but only one word came to mind - Grace.
It's always something of a sweet truth to me when I lean back and realize that it is by Grace that most of us live and move and have our being. We may think otherwise sometimes - it's our green shake, our will of iron, our money or doctors or survival dna but it's not. It's all by Grace. We get through both our toughest times and our wildest good fortune by grace. Otherwise we'd sink or tilt ourselves into oblivion. Just my opinion but still . . .
My cousin and I were both good girls and also we pushed the limit here and there. We grew up on the beach on the Gulf Coast in the 70's and 80's. There were plenty of opportunities to push the limits and we pushed them a little but not so far really. Bustin' curfew, sneaking in late, was probably one of our biggest issues but - now that we are older and oh, how much I wish I could say wiser - we look back and think - It's a wonder we are still alive at all. And, again - not because we were bad but just because the opportunity to be in the right place at the wrong time was pretty high. But still here we are living and breathing.
I just finished reading the novel The Painter by Peter Heller. Without giving anything away just let me say that there is a man who finds a kind of redemption but with it comes the responsibility of living his life without sinking into a selfish self-centered mess.
As I look toward Advent that's the kind of thing I consider - how I can live my life to the good without drowning in my own painful past and emotional present. It's when I lift my head and look forward toward that hope of new birth and a new day that I begin to breathe a little easier and think a little clearer. But I know that it's only by grace that I lift my head at all.
I pray that this season of Advent coming helps us to embrace the grace that we receive but also to share that grace with others - daily. Moment by moment. Because it is truly that in giving we receive.