Tuesday, January 17, 2012
"A State of Grace"
Have you ever had moments in your life that are blessed with a divine grace? An unworldly moment when it seems that your angels are smiling on you....lifting you to a momentary height of perfection that is as close to heaven one can achieve on this earthly plain? No, it doesn't last long...but when it occurs it is like ice cream on a hot day. It is a brief escape from the boundaries our world, and we ourselves, place on our range of achievement.
I've been fortunate to have enjoyed those oh so ephemeral "states of grace" where I felt the gentle hand of perfection tap me on the shoulder, before moving on to greater essences. Once, as a young man, I was singing in a talent show. The song I was performing required a range of voice which was often beyond me. However, on that one night, I hit all the notes to perfection, the acoustics were marvelous, and I felt I was blessed with just a touch of heaven in those moments. After the performance I went backstage and a fellow performer told me that my voice coach had told her that my performance was one of the finest she had ever heard.
I also write. Most times I find writing to be such an uphill effort. I always long for the beautiful simplicity of a Hemingway, the soulful efforts of a Steinbeck and the elegance of Thomas Wolfe. I fail miserably. But, once in awhile my "muse" stands just over my left shoulder and allows me to write prose as poetry. It is that rare moment of "grace" that makes it all so worthwhile.
One need not sing or paint or write or dance the ballet to feel our creator's bestowing of moments of grace on our lives.
We've all been blessed with moments of divine grace. Consider what you feel when a tiny baby wraps his finger around yours as he slumbers in his crib. Remember a time when you carried a sleeping child from the car to the house; how your precious child, roused briefly, then wrapped little hands around your neck and snuggled closer for the trusting conveyance from car to bed. It's a heaven-sent moment that says you are loved and trusted and wanted...and that you're very important to someone. "Grace".
The achievement of "grace" can also be achieved at will sometimes. Consider the feeling of grace and peace and happiness when you perform a kindness, a willful act that makes someone else happy. When the gift of love and kindness is meaningful and heartfelt it is also the graceful gift of "receiving" as well.
Just yesterday I was watching "To Sir With Love", starring Sidney Poitier. In my lifetime of movie-watching I have never seen a more graceful actor. His facial expressions, his manner of walking, his movement of hands are as gracefully beautiful as anything I have ever seen. I have seen Poitier back slap a southern white bigot in "In The Heat of The Night" and wanted to stand up and cheer. I have seen his hands lovingly cup the face of a blind and lost white girl in "A Patch of Blue" and marveled at how much can be said with two hands. I've seen Mr. Poitier confounded by an obstinate Mother Superior in "Lilies of The Field" and wondered how he achieved it with a mere turn of lip and flick of eye brow. Grace on the Silver Screen!
Two of our greatest philosophers, Descartes and Plato, sought to explain the concept of "perfection". Both asserted that, within all of us, there exists at our "inner core", just a touch of "perfection", bestowed upon us by our creator so that we may know it when we see it or experience it.
I have to believe that those momentary "states of grace" occur most frequently when we are in harmony with that inner core of our being. Some of us communicate with that element frequently...and then we are blessed with a Van Gogh or a Beethoven or a Mother Theresa or a Poitier.
The rest of us must stumble along and be grateful for those heavenly moments, those "states of Grace", when God reminds us that we are so much better than we think we are.