Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week of Grace: Day 1

(Today begins the Week of Grace during which, God willing, I will post something on Grace each day for 7 days. We have completed Weeks of Hope and Peace, with a plan to continue through the 7 "holy pauses" that were given to me.)

It is Labor Day weekend and today is Sunday. My plans were all made and I felt a pleasant anticipation. I would go to church in the morning and then spend much of the afternoon sharing with a special group of friends that gathers monthly. Then a bit of dinner, call my parents and handle a few chores.

During the night, I woke a couple of times, noting that one side of my head was hurting a bit. This is not unusual for me, as I experience migraines of varying levels of severity fairly regularly. When my alarm clock began its chirping sound, I reset the clock for a bit later. Waking again, I could not deny the signs and so took some migraine medication and returned to sleep. I got up later and meditated. Then I called my friends to let them know I would not be joining them. Back to bed.

Some migraines I can function through. During others, like today's, I can barely remain vertical.

However, I am not complaining. In fact, I give thanks for my migraine. I am beginning to learn that I can give thanks for almost any experience that comes my way. I can do this because I see that Grace abounds. There is Divine gift in every moment, if I am open to receiving it.

As I recognized this morning that the migraine was taking over, I was called to surrender all that I thought today would be. Sinking into a deep fatigue, there was an oddly peaceful acceptance that my life is not mine to do with whatever I wish. I let go of plans - I had no choice - but I rested assured that I am sustained in life by One who has even greater plans for me than I can imagine.

Of course, like everyone else, I do not like pain and all of the accompanying sensations of unwellness. But I see a grace in them, a gift from God. As I experience my suffering, I am invited into the suffering of God which transcends any human notion of suffering.

The suffering of God is a self-emptying Love, eternally giving. Our Creator was not content to bring us into being and dispassionately observe the pain generated by our destructive ways. Rather, He became one with us by Incarnation, by joining in our human experience and becoming our suffering in His own human body.

His choice to do so was born out of love, the Love which defines God. I do not have a choice about suffering - and I'm sure you feel the same - it comes to me whether I want it to or not. (And I seldom, if ever, do I want it.)

However, the invitation into the suffering of God opens up a whole new level of choice. In embracing what comes to me, I experience the gift (the grace) to unite my bit of suffering to the suffering of all others and to the suffering of God, where it becomes part of the unspeakably deep and vastly eternal Love.

It is deeply humbling to accept this invitation. To fully embrace it, I must surrender. Holding on to me and what I want and wish for leaves me just being me. Even the surrender itself I cannot make of my own power or will. I would never be strong enough or good enough without Divine grace.

And so I am thankful.

Oddly, last night, not knowing what was coming, I felt drawn to print out an image that I received a few weeks ago that reminded me of the call to humility. I share it now with you...

(During this Week of Grace, I welcome your comments, writing or images relevant to the topic. You may e-mail them to me at If you wish to have them posted, please let me know if you would like me to use your name or a pseudonym. Many blessings to you.)