I can remember when I was a girl, hearing someone use the word Grace to describe my mother – “she has such grace” they said. It impacted me, though I’m not entirely sure I understood what that meant at the time. The person said it with such admiration, I knew it was a significant statement. I knew it was something to which to aspire.
Ironically one of the ways in which my mother and I are very similar is our, in a certain sense of the word, lack of grace. We are both clumsy and have a tendency to walk into door moldings, furniture…we discover curiously nasty bruises on ourselves and have no idea how they happened. I like to think that’s indicative of a strong tolerance for pain, but really it is probably just that we bang into things so often that it fails to register as significant at the time. By the time the bruise develops we have zero recollection of the cause.
Of course, that’s not what they meant when they spoke of her grace. They meant how she navigates life, and relationships…not um, space.
So I have aspired to one day be described as having grace – not of the spacial awareness variety – but the other kind.
This buddhist quote haunts me:
How much you loved…
Yes, I love big and generously.
How gently you lived…
Yes, I believe in living with kindness, gratitude and generosity.
How gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
Two out of three ain’t bad, right?
I’ve got a real problem with someone else deciding what is “not meant” for me. Even if that someone else is…um…God.
(Pauses and waits for a lighting bolt to strike computer…)
Even though I know – I know, you guys – I know that what is meant to be, will be. I still hate that expression. Seriously.
A friend said to me recently (okay, okay maybe it was a therapist…okay, fine – it was a psychic…ahem, anyway she said…) “You have to learn that the river knows the way, and it wants to carry you. You are not the river. Grab ahold of a raft and let it take you. Otherwise you are going to get pulled under and die a terrible death.”
She didn’t actually say that last part, but it was implied.
I don’t think I’ll drown, exactly, but I know for damn sure that over the years I have expended a lot of energy trying to go in a direction that the river was never going to take me.
Perhaps even more energy has been exerted in holding on – to a job, to a relationship, to a belief – clinging to the banks of the river with all of my might – because I didn’t want to let go and see where the river would take me.
Two reasons –
FEAR – Even if I was suffering in my “holding on” at least I knew what kind of hell I was in. What’s that expression, “What fresh hell is this?” I didn’t want any fresh hell thank you very much. The hell we know is much more…cozy?
ARROGANCE – (see also – stubbornness, asinine-ness) Believing that I know better than “the river.” How could the river possibly know what’s best for me? I’ll show that river a thing or two.
Umm, no…you won’t.
Time and again I’ve been reminded that the river does know, and it’s not messing around.
The river always takes me where I need to go – like it or not, and with or without my permission. Thankfully, the river is way smarter than I.
So, I’m working on it – letting go gracefully of what isn’t meant for me. One day I’ll find ease in it, and I bet life will flow a lot more smoothly then.
In the meantime I’ll buckle up my life vest because those assholes, Fear and Arrogance – they are so clingy and they are terrible swimmers.