Because grace makes beauty out of everything.
I was driving down Franklin Road today, my mind caught in a garble of thoughts and contemplations. With just a week to go until we release As Is, my first book, my brain is jam-packed with to-dos, should-haves, and general excitement.
On top of that, throw in the hormones and queasy stomach of this 25-week-pregnant woman who had just come from taking the dreaded glucose tolerance test (pregnant ladies, you understand). And for the cherry on top, let’s add three loads of laundry staring me in the face back at home.
You can bet I was not in my finest form as I unknowingly sped down the rolling lanes a few miles from my home. In fact, I was scowling, feeling the wrinkle between my eyebrows grow deeper with each overwhelming thought.
And that’s where I was, racing down Tennessee byways and mental highways, when I saw the man in the orange sweatpants. If you’re regularly in the Franklin area, you may have seen him. In addition to eye-catching clothes, this older man – probably 60-something – dons a set of old school Walkman headphones and literally dances down the side of the road as he walks.
I slowed down to get a closer look. Then I laughed. Not at him. But at the beauty. At his fluidity and freedom. At the absolute dignity of this spunky little man.
With the memory of his movements still lingering in my mind, I laughed again and suddenly realized I had just encountered grace. This unexpected, unformulated, unplanned moment had found me, me in all my undeserved-ness.
I‘ve just started reading Cathleen Falsani’s brilliant book, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace. In the first few pages she says, “Life is beautiful. And I’m an idiot who doesn’t deserve any of it. But that’s the thing about grace.”
Those words hit me hard as I slowed to a stoplight half a mile from the dancing man. And it got me thinking about the other graces and beauties I miss. So I started remembering.
Grace has tenderly touched my belly countless times as baby Jude performs his own fetal dance inside my womb.
Grace knelt beside me as I took the Eucharist yesterday, remembering forgiveness and life.
Grace listened in on a good phone call with a friend a couple days ago.
Grace smiled as my midwife hugged me and told me to call anytime with any questions at all, even if I had just called the day before.
Grace whispered truth to me again and again in a week filled with false accusations.
Grace put her arms around my husband and me as we talked late last evening.
Grace even shushed my racing mind and brushed her fingers through my hair while I slept through the night for the first time in weeks (a grand feat for any pregnant woman, I might add).
Yep, grace has been there in so many moments. In all my moments to be exact. And I’ve been an idiot, too blind to see her. But she has been there. And that’s the thing. Maybe the most important thing. She is always there. The bonus is when I stop my madness to get a whiff of her perfume as she enters the room. Or when I shut my own voice off long enough to hear her sing and sigh. Or when I finally look up to see her dancing down the side of the road in her bright orange sweatpants and Walkman headphones.