Grace for the Everyday
I write about grace a lot. Probably because I think about it a lot. Probably because I need it a lot.
When I catch even a hint of a suggestion that someone wants to place limits on grace, I am all intensity and vehemence. I think that those of us who have felt most deeply our need of grace are usually the ones most ready to defend its depth and breadth, its transcendence and permanence.
But I wonder: Do I actually, practically give grace a lot?
I have all sorts of philosophical grace for people who have done terrible wrongs to people who are not me. I even have grace for people who have done me serious wrongs. But I’m not sure I have a lot of little grace, grace for the everyday. And I don’t know that there’s a more necessary kind to give.
My birth father wholly abandons me at four months old, and I forgive him. But my mother lets me down in a hard moment, and I allow resentment to simmer for years.
My boyfriend verbally abuses me, and I forgive him. But a friend makes a potentially negative comment on my Facebook wall, and I consider her effectively dropped.
My best friend betrays me, and I forgive her. But a couple of people I barely know treat me harshly, and I skewer them publicly with my words.
And I realize that it’s easier to offer grand, nebulous grace than to offer small, concrete grace. To forgive deep wrongs is no trivial thing. But to look little wrongs straight in the eye and say, I will do the work of laying down my rights to offense even for this– that is hard and humbling, and it is important.
This everyday grace is included– essential, even– in that grace that I am always so ready to fight for. If I am going to be all intensity and vehemence about placing limits on grace, then I cannot ever say that this thing or that is too small to receive it.
I’ve felt deeply my need of such everyday grace, and it’s not enough just to defend it– I have to give it, a lot.