There WITH Grace Go I…

Yesterday was Lazarus Sunday, there was a lot of talk of resurrection.  The preshow to main event I suppose.  I suppose if you could perform one miracle, raising the dead should be expected from people around you.  Our Deacon gave the Homily yesterday, he is always very intriguing and yesterday’s was no different.  He talked about resurrection in our own lives.  He talked about personal tragedy and helplessness while someone he loved floundered in darkness.  He couldn’t save her, and in the end, she couldn’t save herself.  He talked about resurrection right now.  Not in the end of the world sense but in our own hearts.

I am all for the resurrection of my own heart, my own love, my own broken relationships, my own future with my partner.  She and I continually meet people we are compelled to apologize to for the way we ended our marriages, and the way we came together.  We acknowledged to each other that that will be something we will probably be doing for the rest of our lives.   That acknowledgment doesn’t make our apologies less sincere.  It just makes them our reality.

There are things in all of our lives that we continually apologize for.  It doesn’t undo the damage, but it doesn’t make us candidates for stoning either (at least in this culture – at least not yet).  It helps us acknowledge our humanity.  It gives us markers of comparison to the damage others do to us. It helps us grow compassion from the fertilizer of our own transgressions.  How can you forgive if you have never needed it yourself (speaking strictly from a human perspective)?

I am considerably less self righteous than I was in the past.  I could jump on that Julia Sugarbaker soap box with the best of them.  (That was a 1980s Designing Women reference for all you youngin’s).  I am not much of a jumper these days… not MUCH… I can still go off on homophobes and racists and men guilty of various offenses.   I suppose I am not as devastated by diatribes as I used to be.  That doesn’t mean I won’t put up boundaries to keep me safe.  It just means I am not prone to the hatred that I once was.

Last Sunday, two bike riders training for a triathlon were killed a few miles from my apartment.  The father and son started out their morning in pursuit of something they loved.  The father was dead at the scene and the son lingered for a few more days before he died.  Yesterday, my very good friend could have been killed on her scooter.   Her new scooter totaled, but she is alive and relatively unharmed.  Their days started one way and ended another, “There but for the Grace of God go I.”   That is something we say a lot in AA about slipping or those who never make it into recovery.  I have to think did those things happened when God blinked?  What makes me any more graced than they?  The “but” somehow implies they didn’t have God’s Grace… I can’t believe that.  I think maybe it should be, “There with the Grace of God go I.”

I have come to believe that Grace of the divine kind is internal.  I think it’s a way of seeing the world and our function in it.  If you see your internal self as a sanctuary of peace, then who could the external hardships really touch you? If your internal temple is a temple of shame, then your external paradise will still be a living hell.  Sure you can get run over by a drunk driver while pursuing something you love doing, but how cheapened would life be if you never pursued anything you love?  I personally don’t want to die in my bed at 100 if it means I can never truly live.  I think that the Grace is in the pursuit of living.  I think shame paralyzes us from the joy of really living.  Of course, really living means screwing up or not being able to prevent someone else’s screw up from changing your life completely.  Really living is a risk my couch is a very safe place but if you lay on it too long it makes your back hurt.

Before I put up my donate button, I thought about how doing so might affect what I write, the way I write, if I write, what I will think of those who read it but, don’t, won’t, can’t or don’t think about donating to my cause.  Will I be cynical, skeptical, so utterly grateful I will turn in to a sycophant?  Will I be bitter and angry because the whole world didn’t put me in the category of the survivors in Japan, the Middle East, Afghanistan, those who are victims of slavery, of sexual abuse and there is so much suffering to even mention?  Will I be afraid that people will think less of me because I asked for help from friends, strangers, everyone?  Will I feel like an internet panderer?  Will people know I am in need?

Those are only some of the things I thought about before I put up my request.  Asking for help changes you in some ways.  In a way it is a resurrection on your vulnerabilities.  It’s like the dog lying down to show its vulnerable underbelly.  It doesn’t make it less of a dog; merely a dog who knows when to submit.  There’s a better way of saying that… .

It is expressed better in a song we sing at church or at Cursio (that is a retreat that Episcopalians like to go on – very uplifting and loving).  It’s called “The Servant Song” byRichard Gillard.   Some of the lyrics are:  “won’t you let me be your servant.  I will be like Christ to you.  Pray that I may I have the grace to let me be your servant too.”  I am doing the last part right now… or trying to do it.  I keep reminding myself that needing help doesn’t make me less of a person, just a person who knows when she is in need.

I am not the greatest or most noble charity on the planet not even in my own mind.  I can recommend lots of noble charities.  My favorites are Make Way Partners, (http://www.makewaypartners.org/).  That charity helps fight human trafficking and takes care of orphans in Sudan, Romania and other places.  The one Episcopalian (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/ONE) charity is another favorite.  That one helps support the UN millennium goals to help end worldwide poverty and promote the rights of everyone.  Those are noble charities, and tax deductible.

It is funny what desperation does to you.  Right now my desperation centers on fund raising for my legal fund since I have no familial support or notable credit from which to borrow.  I have sold almost anything of value.  My act of desperation was also an act of faith putting out a request for help.  I thought it through before I acted.  My whole sense of good in the world isn’t riding on one dime of support.  My sense of self worth isn’t either.   It’s just a request for help, and those who feel it will and those who don’t or can’t won’t.   I asked something of our new director at work a few weeks ago.  I knew it was a long shot, and it was denied; however, she told me that she was glad that I had asked because so many people don’t ask, and you know what the answer will be when you don’t ask.  That was a Grace – full answer.

I guess that this moment is a resurrection of my humility.  My resurrection of knowing that, like others in need of something (and I believe that we all are), I am okay.  I guess resurrection is about Grace in one’s life.  So with that, “There with the Grace of God go I…”  Thanks for reading.

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