Sunday, February 12, 2012

3 Graces

"Amazing Grace" has been percolating in my being of late.

First my iPod played Jerry Garcia's version of "Amazing Grace" from The Pizza Tapes a few times. I wondered if it was conspiring with the universe to get me to think about grace. I do have a fair amount of Jerry Garcia on my iPod.

Then the munsters each asked me to read The Donut Chef story book in which a donut proprietor sets up shop, duels it out with another donut maker, bakes a lot of crazy donuts that have lost their soul and their hole, and then is inspired by a child who asks, "But where is the kind I like best?" She wants a glazed donut. The chef cooks up the old fashioned doughnut and changes his shop's sign to 'Amazing Glazed.'

This reminded me of an old friend from high school who found me through Facebook. We had been friends through home room, Spanish class, and summer hire jobs our last summer together. My memory of our parting was in a parking lot, the last day of work, knowing we were heading off to college soon, but thinking we would meet on future breaks. She mentioned she had to sing at church that Sunday and was unsure of which song. Over the car, before I got in, I said, "Amazing Grace." We never ran into each other again, but twenty years later the first thing she told me was that she had sung "Amazing Grace" that long ago Sunday. It launched her church singing career. It was nice to know that the moment had held meaning for her, enough to let me know years later.

The word grace came to me again by way of a blog entry on Momastry. The particular entry was from a guest blogger about helping a family, a mother with six children, to get off of their apartment floor and gain a sense of support with a helping hand. The story lingered in my mind because I was impressed at what could be done through a blog, the impact of the change on the family, and because I wondered if it would stick. I'm a mother of two children and I have a husband. It crossed my mind that a woman with six children and no husband may not be the best decision maker, but I'm sure she needed a hand. A few days later I noted another entry was posted and read that some readers had responded negatively to the helping of this particular family. I felt partly guilty of the same thought as I just mentioned. But the blog writer, Glennon took me deeper into the thought with her hard won wisdom. This is what she wrote:
...I am not in the business of deciding which human beings are deserving of help and which aren’t. That’s a slippery slope, and one that a girl like me must avoid like the plague. I spent the first twenty years of my life with my arms open wide, accepting gifts from God and family and friends and promptly walking over to the trash can and throwing them in. By the time I was helped out of my crappy life once and for all, I certainly didn’t deserve it. But help came anyway. Grace, I believe it’s called. Undeserved favor.  Grace is scandalous, and I can see how someone who has lived a responsible life might get frustrated by it. I really, really can. Grace is totally unfair. So, that’s the bad news. The good news is that if you ever need help- we will be here to offer it. And you can bet your Monkee bottom that we won’t be concerned with whether or not you deserve it. You’re worthy of love and grace just because you are. 
Glennon from Momastery
It made me think more about grace, the unmerited favor kind, and how vital it is for growth, for change. It made me think about the need to offer it up just a little bit more to both myself and others. I also played the tune a few more times. Then I remembered this photo I snapped from the Tokyo Quilt Exhibition, though I don't know the title given to it by its maker. The three graces of Greek mythology were charm, beauty, and creativity. A dose of any one of them is a gift, all three have the makings of a blessing.
Quilt from the Tokyo Quilt Show January 27,  2012