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January 16, 2013


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Grace is that unconditional love you feel for your children. Because there truly are no strings attached. I shall love my children with all my heart until the day I die. I might not like them at times. I might be truly disappointed in them. But love is always there.

Love is collecting mug shot pictures of my children to haunt them with, knowing that I shall still be involved in their lives to be able to haunt them with the old mug shot pictures.

Love is throwing a wedding for a daughter knowing full well the guy is an ass and then helping her through her divorce and then being ready to support her through yet another marriage to a guy who, while not as large an ass as the first one, you still have doubts about.

Grace/Love Unconditional. No one loves perfectly, but Grace makes it OK.

Canadian Rachel

I, too, am an atheist, and I'm having thoughts on this subject, but it may take me a while to formulate them properly...


"But on the other hand when I think about how grace actually FEELS, I'm not sure I can do it. "

I know you don't believe in God, so it's weird following you talking about grace. Because as a Christian I believe that grace is a gift from God and doesn't come from me at all, and I'm always praying asking for it. So grace feels like running off the cliff, thinking I'm going to fall, then realizing, no, there's a net.

Rachel R.

You and I have similar issues and expectations in our relationships, but I've recently realized the beauty of "letting it go" or "grace." For years, I've slowly built up an understanding that Ben and I are different people with different needs and ways of expressing ourselves. Like you and Joel, ours tend to clash.

Over Christmas break, something just fell into place where I was relaxed and stopped being so angry about everything, and, in turn, Ben started being more affectionate and complimentary (not a lot, but enough to mean the world to me and make me secure in his love). While we've had setbacks, I've tried to maintain that feeling and take a step back with, literally, everything that makes me angry and anxious. Yesterday, Ben was thoughtless and went into defensive mode when I asked him to do something that he should have done. And I didn't care. It blew right over me. I felt nothing but calm and mentioned that it wasn't worth fighting about and that I would do it. Afterward, we were fine. I never got upset, and he made me a delicious drinking chocolate dessert.

What Kim wrote above is also how I view this. Lucia has started having tantrums. I still love and want to be around her no matter what.. Something similar can be said of "love" or "grace" or whatever you want to call it.

Canadian Rachel

OK, I guess for me (a fellow non-believer) grace is kind of the opposite of that you're saying. It's not so much about ME running over the cliff (although sometimes I do), but more about me walking around open-hearted and seeing when OTHER people are Wile E. Coyote-ing it over the edge. Sometimes I can help those people, people who can never repay me. And I do it because they are my fellow humans, and I love them, and I am in the right place at the right time, and I have what they need and am in a position to be generous with it.

So for me, grace is about holding the net, when and how I can. It requires me to be healthy and whole and not careening over a cliff at that very moment myself. I can't be so wrapped up in my own pain that I can't see anyone else's.

Remember the time I wrote a comment that you found particularly moving? I HAD to write that. It was a lightning-strike intuition, an overpowering feeling that I could make a difference, right that moment. I had the power and the knowledge and the words, the capacity and desire to be generous. There was no way you could repay me, and I would never ask for that. You owe me nothing. That's grace, to my mind. We come through for people when they need us.

You will be there for other people too. It's possible you can't hold the net right now because you're still tied up in pain, still falling, and that's okay. You will land. The world will catch you. And then it will be your turn to catch the world.

Rachel R.

I want to expand on something that both Canadian Rachel and I wrote. "Letting go" is exactly that; it's letting go of yourself. Self-analyzing and trying to understand what is wrong, etc. actually makes me miserable because I'm living in my head and not in the moment and not with those around me. I'm too caught up in how someone is making me feel and not the someone and how they feel. I'm too caught up in how sad or angry I am to notice how beautifully a bird drifts into the air or how carmelized onions taste or how music lilts. Lately, whenever the mood to go into my head or my emotions hits, I ignore it and focus on my surroundings instead. This may be the antithesis of therapy where they tell you to feel your feelings. But it makes me calmer and more present, which makes me happier. Now that I'm writing it, it also sounds like meditation.

Canadian Rachel

Rachel R, well put. I'm a big fan of meditation myself, and I really do think it increases my capacity for being open to the world around me, for noticing things and having compassion for others. Feel your feelings, yes, but then let them go.


Grace is realizing that everything will turn out for the best, whether now or 20 years from now. That is the difference between Wiley Coyote falling and flying. Grace means knowing you will fly, that you were meant to fly, and that the only thing keeping you from flying is self-doubt, suspicion and fear of failure.

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