Thursday, February 05, 2009

Grace in Small Things?

Okay. I'm coming out of the closet.

Lately, I've been reading (and enjoying) the "Grace in Small Things" posts that many have been doing. I'd love to be doing them, too.

But the truth is.... I don't find grace in everyday things. Sometimes grace is found in small things, sure, but not everyday things.

Most of everyday life feels to me to be a combination of frustration and busy work. It's petty problem-solving and maintenance. It's drip-drip-drip.

I know it's not "cool" to say that.. or to admit seeing it that way. In some regards, it probably sounds a bit devaluing and perhaps even arrogant. After all, I should be able to find it. I've filled my head with Thomas Moore and others who write on the topic of finding the sacredness in everyday life.

And it just doesn't seem very meaningful. It doesn't resonate.

I find grace in nature. That is my refuge. I love growing things, the creation of nature and amazing geography. Waterfalls and oceans. Mountains. Animals. Plants. Flowers. Beautiful trees. They scream out "sacred".

I find grace in big things ~ in miracles which I believe occur regularly. There is grace and beauty in the animal world, in extraordinary acts of ordinary human beings. Acts of kindness. People who consistently put something else ahead of themselves. Passion for causes and a desire to make the world a better, more equitable, place.

One of my greatest fears is being stuck in a "Groundhog Day" existence of problem-solving, busy work and life maintenance. I'm a casualty of "Babbit". I read that book way back in high school and frankly it scared the living hell out of me. I vowed then and there that I would make sure my life didn't resemble Babbit's with his pathetic lament, "I never did a single thing I wanted to do." (For those who don't remember, that comment was made when giving advice to his son upon his marriage. Babbit's complaint was that he'd never done a single thing he wanted to do because he gave in to social expectations and householder responsibilities.)

My life is very controlled in many ways. Bills are paid automatically. Everything that can be automated has been clicked into place and the system flows seamlessly. Most of the time. As I mentioned in a previous post, a phone call doesn't even come into this house without my controlling who, when and under what circumstances.

On the other hand, even though the control can be a good thing from the standpoint of organization, I may have built such high walls that things are kept out that should be let in. There should be a better balance.

This is perhaps my greatest weakness (some might even say 'character flaw') and I admitted to a friend a while back that the karma is terrifying. What if the universe decides I need to learn next time about accepting responsibilities gracefully?

Ugh. You know. Just ugh! When I see how most people have to live, it terrifies me. It terrifies me for them.

This isn't permission to be irresponsible and I'm not. I keep my agreements. The thing is that I keep a very tight lid on how many agreements I'll make and the circumstances of them.

I've been given the greatest gift of any lifetime.. and that is the ownership of my time. There's not a single day that I don't wake up and thank God/Buddha/The Universe/Deity of Choice for that gift. I'm determined to not abuse it.

Still... I suspect I'd be a more mature, wiser and perhaps even better person if I was able to find the grace in everyday life.. and opened up to it a bit more, without the ironclad control.



heartinsanfrancisco said...

Somebody once told me to "let go and let God."

I wasn't ready then, and I'm still not ready. When my life seems to be spinning out of control, I cling desperately to my ability to control what I can.

Yet I do find grace in small things as well as large ones. There is grace in the smile of a mother for her child, grace in a crocus bravely bursting into the world through snow, and grace in understanding at a very deep level that we are all in this together. And that is both scary and comforting.

RKK said...

I admire you for putting this out there; I think many of us feel the same way more than most are willing to admit.

I try not to judge myself when I am not able to do the things I think I should be able to do.

meno said...

I had a different post in mind after reading your first sentence. :)

I try to remind myself often of how good life is for me. But i do need to be reminded even more often, so i am with you.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure there is a contradiction - some small things ar frustrating and drudgery, some small things filled with grace.

MALCOLM said...

Girl friend, as the yuppies and hip hoppers say "Calm down"you are letting the word control you, or you are trying, to hard to control it, and you are thinking the way you are because you are letting it control you , and make no mistake you will never control it . Read the small pocket size book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . And for God's and yourself, and the people around you , spend a little more time in the Hammock and a lot less time in the Office . Malcolm
Come on over to my place sometimes. I spend a lot of time in small graces ,and ,I'll show you how it's done ,and we'll waste(as you will say I'm sure ) the whole day just having fun

Leann said...

I understand what you are saying and why you feel the need to control your world. I do the same thing, just not as ridgedly as you do. For the moment I exist. I am truly not living, but existing day to day waiting......for what I have no earthly idea, but waiting I am.

Laurie said...

Most of my life I have done the same, Chani, but several life-changing events took the control out of my hands.

Now I just try to live in the moment and go where the flow of the universe takes me.

My walls have come down (for the most part--I'm a work in progress, what can I say), and I'm enjoying life a whole lot more.

On a different subject, I want to tell you how much I learn when I read your posts. Not only about you and your life, but about myself as well.

Thank you for that.


Deodand said...

Yay! A post about gratitude with complete sentences - I'm grateful for it!

I keep finding myself thinking of the fact that there is only "right now". It's helped me release my anxiety about the future and to appreciate moments when I should be grateful for my life. It sounds trite but it's true.

Olivia said...

I'm pretty much with you, Chani. I spend an inordinate amount of time chasing after "problem-solving, busy work and life maintenance". Today I had to return a broken faucet to Lowe's and it took the whole day---getting dressed, getting there, trying to get an exchange, making the phone calls on the warranty, etc. I was exhausted afterward and everything I had planned for the day is now backlogged. It is hard for me to stop to appreciate the small graces, although I do try. Mostly I just try to get through. However I do gain inspiration from the people online who are inspired, in the moment, and relishing their lives.

I'm just not there yet!



Woman in a Window said...

I was pretty sure gratitude was cool. I guess it's time to start a whole new cool.

Angela said...

Sometimes I can find the grace in small things and sometimes not. I do notice, however, that my life seems more content when I can. God, I just love your honesty.

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