More Than Manners

And more than elegance or charm, grace changes lives, enlarges love, and empowers dreams. 
When we hear the word grace, it’s common to think of people who are well-behaved, filled with social graces. Charming people. In fact, my first few dictionary entries define grace in this way. But less common, and so further down the list, other meanings show up: favor, kindness, mercy. These, too, are grace, and these definitions are closer to the original intention of the word. And the opposite of grace is greed, wanting all you think you should have. And more. And more. 

It’s true that when we are being kind to others, we use our manners. We teach our children to say please and thank you, to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze, and to say excuse me. In our good intentions, the meaning has shifted so that manners mean more than the motives behind them. The end result is that what we do then proves we are worthy, bettering our reputation.

Self matters more than others. As a culture, we’ve shifted away from: what can I do for you just because, to: what can I do for you that benefits me while I’m at it. 

Pretty indicative of our culture really.

I’m glad that grace looks for us wherever we are: in our cubicle, behind the cash register, at our computer. It searches us out whatever we’re doing: cooking dinner, cleaning an office, operating a machine. It’s good news that grace gives me more than I deserve. 

Another way to look at it is that grace is like a good greed, getting more and more, except it’s not that I earn it. It’s that I don’t.

In its fullest meaning, grace refers to “undeserved favor,” allowing the recipient something she didn’t earn, something she isn’t worthy of.

Something like Amazing Grace … 

Hints of Abandonment

A few posts ago I talked about the richness of reading and how books continue the Great Conversation. This Conversation discusses the important issues of life. what books any of you thought might contribute to the ages-long conversation.

No response came. Hello? Is anyone out there?

This blog is a new adventure for me and, as I’ve said in other posts, has provided me with challenges to be consistent. What that also means is sometimes I wonder if I am out here in blogzone alone. Until I was able to see that I would be able to commit to this venture, I was reluctant to announce that I had started a blog of my own. And then there was too much time after the first one when I did let it slip I did it. I’ve felt like I’ve deserved this abandonment when I check the comment section at the bottom of each post. This experience reminds me of a writer’s commitment to write everyday. Though I don’t feel it necessary to blog each day, I know I need to write something. And I admit I still struggle with that.

Though not an expert, I see many direct references to the Bible and to Shakespeare, but, of course, Shakespeare refers to Machiavelli, Bocc.

Dividends in Seasons

Something I passionately believe is that in each woman’s lifetime, she is given seasons, just as the year has seasons with each one in which to accomplish certain priorities for a particular season. Identity. Motherhood. Travel. Worldly success. Family. Education. All of these are goals or accomplishments that can take on higher or lesser importance depending on the stage of life one is in, though there is some overlapping.

Why is it so many try to have it all, do it all NOW? Is this a result of our ‘instant’ society? Why do we think we should be able to have it all and do it all?

I think if more people would accept that life is essentially seasonal, they could enjoy and live more fully in whatever season they are in. We marry, have children (sometimes in the reverse order), pursue a career and/or work to attain a certain standard of living, finding themselves, and/or return to college. All at the same time– in our twenties and thirties. Everyone we know is on this track and seem to be thriving on it (but in reality cracks appear and eventually break). I remember feeling judged as lazy for not following this norm. My husband felt the pressure of carrying the financial burden of the family when most, if not all, other men shared it with their wives while enjoying the benefits of more toys and leisure.

But . . . burnout, disillusionment, stress, and broken marriages increase. The family breaks down. Society suffers. Goals of finding one’s identity, mothering children, traveling, enjoying financial freedom, being recognized as a success, obtaining an education, and loving a family can all be accomplished– but, instead of over a period of a decade– in a lifetime.

More people would, ironically, be more successful in their lifetime if they develop patience and trust that this can and will happen. Negative and postive examples of people all around us who are living their lives in one camp or the other can instill fear and foreboding or inspiration and impetus if we dare to look. This lifestyle can’t be insured by Allstate or Metropolitan Life. There is always risk. But, like the stock market as we look at it historically, it can be counted on to pay dividends to almost all who stick with it.