On Day 7 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I am honored to have Patricia Crisafulli, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and founder of the e-literary website Faith, Hope and Fiction. Her latest work is Inspired Every Day: Essays and Stories to Brighten Your Day, Give You Hope and Strengthen Your Faith, published by Hallmark (March 2014). She is also a featured blogger on Huffington Post.
Thank you, “Grace”:
Finding Extraordinary Moments in Ordinary Life
By Patricia Crisafulli
So there I was, in the longest security line at LaGuardia Airport, snaked all the way up the ramp and around the corner. And I had an early departure burning a hole in my pocket.
After two long days of back-to-back meetings in New York, I managed to get to the airport in time for the earlier flight back to Chicago. But the time window to get through security and to the gate was closing fast, and I was still way back in the security line. I began to wonder if I’d even make my original flight.
From out of nowhere appeared a uniformed TSA person who, after hearing my plight, plucked me from the line and brought me to the front. She stared down the business traveler who had just shucked off his Armani jacket and Gucci shoes and belt and wasn’t about to let an interloper ahead of him. I got the gate and onto that plane.
Thank you, Grace.
No, that’s not the name of the TSA person. Rather, I’m talking about her act of kindness, which was totally unexpected and undeserved on my part. That is grace.
The classic definition of grace is “unmerited divine assistance,” as if Somebody Up There has sent you a text with smiley face and angel wings attached: ^Ο^. A more secular interpretation is “an act of kindness,” particularly if it arrives unexpectedly.
Like the time several years ago when I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a graceless place with its gray walls and matching speckled floor, to change the address on my driver’s license. I waited so long for my number to be called that I had to leave without ever making it to the counter. When I came back, I was prepared for a long siege with a book to read and pages to edit. Given the crowd assembled already, I would be there for another couple of hours.
I didn’t even bend my knees to sit down, when the automated system flashed my number on the screen (no, not the original number from before—a brand new one). I was out the door within 15 minutes with a new license. Just as I was leaving the DMV, I spotted a fresh red rose petal on the floor. How it got there, I can’t say. But it seemed to have divine fingerprints all over it.
Grace is not just about speeding through lines or getting a parking space close to the door. But I do think those mundane moments remind us that there is grace to be experienced and encountered in everyday life. Looking for grace keeps me connected to Something (insert religious/philosophical interpretation here) that makes me feel not quite so alone, abandoned, or forgotten—which pretty much describes daily life for a writer working on a novel. The alternative of not doing that seems pretty dismal.
So call it luck, serendipity, coincidence, a sign from above. But why not just make that leap of Matthew McConaughey-Oscar-speech-inspired faith and say “Amen, alright, alright, alright” to grace? You just might go to the head of the line.
Five Tips for Finding Grace
• Buy into it. You know what they say; when you buy a little red car, all you see are little red cars. Ditto with grace. Once you buy into grace, you’ll see it everywhere.
• Embrace it. Is it luck? Coincidence? Kismet? Just call it “grace” and be done with it.
• Trust it. Given its unexpected, and even undeserved, nature, you can’t say when grace will appear. But trust that it will—and when you least expect it.
• Be grace-ful. We are the conduits of grace for others. So hold a door, give a seat, make room. Be gracious.
• Be grateful. Nothing attracts grace like gratitude. Just try it.
Living “grace-fully” is an attitude, an acceptance that little drops of the extraordinary are sprinkled all over ordinary life. Where have you encountered grace?
P.S.: Stay tuned for my review of Patricia’s latest book Inspired Every Day: Essays and Stories to Brighten Your Day, Give You Hope and Strengthen Your Faith – all I can say now is – it is wonderful!
And today, let’s visit:
Sreeja Praveen of The Alter Ego
Cathy Graham of Cattitude and Gratitude