I am currently reading a book titled “Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout. It’s fiction about a quirky character named Olive and other characters in a small town of Maine. One of the characters in the book is meeting with her attorney to go over her father’s estate. She is quite bereft and her attorney is a very kind empathetic man. At one point, they discuss spiritual matters of life and death. This particular person, in the story, is a young woman with depth of soul. As their conversation is coming to an end, this young woman exclaims to the attorney, she is beginning to realize “that our job, maybe even our duty, is to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can”.
That statement above caused me to pause and reflect on what it means to “bear the mystery with grace”. The mystery of course is something that each one of us lives every day of our lives. Most of us want an answer to why things are happening. Why did someone get cancer, why did the love relationship end, why did a love one die in an accident, why is someone dealing with an injury that keeps them from doing what they love?
Sometimes, with soul searching, talking to counselors, health care providers, friends, ministers, family, we can obtain some of the answers. We might know that the relationship ended because of infidelity, that diet and lack of exercise and stress might have contributed to an illness, that someone was texting while they were driving and experienced a car accident.
However, what I’d like to suggest is that even with certain knowledge about why something has occurred, that there is often a deeper mystery happening at the same time. Two people can have the exact same diet and stress levels but one person does well and the other person experiences illness. Or as in the case of a 97 year old mother of a dear friend of mine, she continues to stay on this earth even though the doctors told her she was close to death and that was over 3 months ago.
My friend whose name just happens to be Grace, is embracing the mystery of her mother’s life and potential death and allowing for the not KNOWING of why her mother continues to stay on this earth. We have had many discussions regarding her mom and how much younger people are leaving this earth and yet her mom continues to linger. Some people might ask “where is the fairness in that, what is the reason for this?” Therein lies the mystery.
To me, the mystery is God, life force, a higher power, the energy that connects all of us to everything. To know this mystery, well, is really a mystery. We can know aspects of this mystery from a KNOWING within ourselves. However, I believe, that even the greatest mystics on this earth most likely can not explain the full mystery of life and death and beyond.
So what does it mean to bear this mystery with grace? What I have come to realize for myself, is that it means to leave room for further information to show up. It means to realize that I don’t have all the answers, or that someone else does and allowing for the greater mystery to unfold without a need to control what is occurring. When we step into a place of allowing grace to enter into our lives with whatever is happening we feel an expansion in our energy fields and an opening of our hearts.
One of the definitions of grace by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “ unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. When we step into the energetic space of grace, we are stepping into the space of healing. When we heal we regenerate our cells and our selves. We also step into the power of all that is, of sanctification or holiness. Not from a place of religious ideology but from a deep sacred place that lies within the unknown. Within the unknown lies all possibility, all creation of unlimited proportion.
When I think of someone who is graceful, I think of them as having fluidity of body or mind. Someone can be graceful as an ice skater and it is beautiful to watch their ease of movement. Someone can be graceful with what they are experiencing in life and that also is beautiful to observe the ease with which they are navigating the waters of their experience. This doesn’t mean there aren’t bumps or falls or scratches along the way, it just means that someone has learned to allow the space of source energy, a higher power to touch their hearts, minds and bodies so there is less resistance which allows for regeneration to occur within their beings and greater ease of movement in their physical bodies.
The beautiful thing about experiencing the state of grace is that it is open to all of us at any time. And it can be accessed at any moment with just a shift of consciousness. All it requires is a willingness to experience the unknown in any given moment. If you are having a conversation with someone and they are saying something that bothers you, then grace can help you navigate communicating without damaging the relationship.
If you surrender to grace in the moment, you can allow for a greater experience to unfold that is not personal but based on the sacredness of your connection. By stepping into grace you can move into the space of holiness that is your essence. And you will also realize is the essence of the person whose words are bothering you.
When you step into a state of grace with an illness you merge into a sacred place where all answers live. You keep doing everything you can to help yourself, of course, but you also realize there is a greater mystery unfolding. Grace allows for non judgement, for neutrality and this allows for regeneration on a deep cellular level. It is the deeper KNOWING that not only are we deserving of healing, we are not separate from the healing that we are desiring.
My wish for all of you, as spring unfolds and new growth appears in nature, is to allow space for grace in your own lives every day with body, mind, and spirit. You can meditate on the word GRACE, and feel the expansion within your own being. Grace to me is the opposite of constriction, of resistance. It is the allowing of the sanctity of life to emerge and to open each of us to the great mystery that is calling us to experience a deeper knowing of ourselves, of life, of death, of creation.