Graceful Gestures

Jill - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 2, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

Imagine. Crawling into bed after a long, hard day at work or at play. For me, this is a satisfying experience every day. It’s my opportunity to relax, to review, to plan, to dream.

Once in a while – rarely, really – I crawl into bed and it is perfection. The sheets are the perfect temperature – a bit on the cool side. They are cotton (of any thread count!). The bottom sheet fits tightly around the fairly firm mattress; the top sheet is loose enough not to trouble my toes. The weight of the quilt suggests safety, security and it comes right up to my chin. The pillows? The pillows are key. One gently supports my head and the other is hugged tightly to my chest as I lie on my left side in a modified fetal position. This…this is perfection. And, for me, it is also a moment of grace.

Grace. My book club recently considered grace. It seems that, while grace is defined in a number of different ways and shows itself in a number of different ways, it can be thought of as “a little something extra” that god or the universe gives you. It’s given unexpectedly, regardless of whether it’s needed or even deserved. I think of grace as a surprising smile from a truly higher power; a smile that may provide comfort, bestow congratulations or give strength – or ensure a good night’s sleep!

For me, grace is not a miracle – big and bold and public. I can feel grace – but I have to watch for it and listen for it and acknowledge it. When I think about it, my life is filled with grace moments. Some of those come directly from “the source”, but many are given to me through family, friends, colleagues and even strangers. Grace is my husband laughing out loud. Grace is watching my sons from a distance when they don’t know I’m there. It’s reluctantly reading a recommended book that then touches my heart. It’s receiving an “I love what you are doing” email from a colleague. And, in Chicago in the winter, it’s an arm that reaches out to hold you steady as you slip on the ice.

I believe that grace is all around us and is delivered through us. I have the capacity to create graceful moments for others — and it’s important that I do so. There are things I can say and do, however random or small, that can lift a fellow human being as high as a surprising smile or unexpected embrace. And, the graceful gesture I make toward another may just result in a moment of grace beyond us both.