Religion Magazine

Inhaling Grace

By Marilyngardner5 @marilyngard


A warm, damp wind blows my hair and my face as I walk up Tremont Street, making my way to work. It has rained during the night and the streets show recent puddles. The fifty percent accurate weather forecast reckons it will rain some more, and then the temperature will drop and snow will begin during the night.

The weather in New England is as fickle as the human heart and causes almost as much chaos and damage. But, unlike the heart, the weather is given more grace by others.

I think about this today as I walk. I’m tired. I feel the weight of life’s journey on my body. I know myself well enough that I won’t make any decisions right now. As sages are wont to say “this too will pass.” But it still feels difficult. It still feels like I’m not doing enough to bring light, grace, and joy into this world of gray.

But maybe it’s not about me doing ‘enough’ — maybe it’s about me relaxing and realizing that I need to stop. I need to stop and inhale grace with each breath – breathe in, breathe out. Inhale, exhale. Breathe in grace, feel it fill my body.

Unsure of my own words and thoughts, I gratefully read those of another:

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”

“Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. The night absolves. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day’s chalking.”
Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

I breathe in once again and know I’m ready for another day’s chalking, another day of grace.

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