The Healing Power of Grace

Katherine - Lawrence, Kansas
Entered on April 29, 2005
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death, love
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In September of 2002, my life partner died suddenly of an undetected heart condition. Everything that I had come to believe over the 23 years we spent together seemed to die with her. I substituted unconditional love with large quantities of alcohol and isolation. I quit answering the phone, stopped leaving my house except for essentials, and crossed my heart and hoped to die. I longed for her voice and her laugh until I drove myself nearly mad with grief. I stayed stuck in sorrow for nearly two years.

One night, drunk and alone, lying in the middle of my living room floor, I heard her voice as clearly as if she was beside me. She told me to let go with both hands.

Let go of what? Let go of her? Never! I felt that holding on to her memory was the only thing that was keeping me sane. She was my anchor and I was adrift. If I stopped holding tight I feared I would be swamped. I was not afraid to die but I was afraid of losing my mind. Letting go was impossible!

I understand now that grace is what makes the impossible, possible.

I believe that grace is made manifest through the words and works of those that inhabit our lives. I have been the recipient of kindness that exceeds the limits of humanity; of wonder, both horrible and awesome, that infuses and informs my spirit; and of love that transcends death. All of these things have been given to me from the open hearts of family and friends. I was made abject by sorrow but was lifted up by grace.

In short, I was loved out of misery by people who simply would not let me succumb to the darkness I courted. They understood that in order for me to go on, to honor love and memory, I had to let go of suffering and grab hold of life. They refused to let me give up when I believed all was lost. My life support was a combination of good sense dispensed with compassion and tolerance when I felt I was unbearable.

I believe that the only thing that truly has substance in the world is love. It is by grace that unconditional love is given and received. My little cadre of support gave me respite. I received love I could not possibly have deserved and it sustained my spirit in spite of me.

I am grateful beyond measure for the great grace that has been extended to me and humbled beyond reckoning by the power it has to heal. By letting go I learned how to hold on, and by accepting grace I learned how to extend it.