On the wings of Grace….

If we allow life to fill us and wrap us in grace we are destined to kiss the feet of humility and sing the praises of learning how to receive a life of profound adventure!!

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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ~Melody Beattie

Most of my life after I graduated High School and headed out on my own adventure, I was in “control”, I was the one steering the boat, right??  We are taught in school how to set goals, memorize, take tests, accomplish, compare, compete, and jump through the hoops. Well I conformed and marched along like every other student, kind of, I had some teachers who wished I would forget how to question or raise my hand, for I sure could begin a disruptive off track discussion. As one of my earlier blogs shares, I never did learn how to stop asking why and to be honest I hope I never do!!

When I look back on my life, I become aware that in reality I had very little control; life was moving me and guiding me through its waters. Oh I made decisions, chose certain actions, but all of those were based on what life presented me. I would aim my rudder in one direction and then feel the current shift it to the left or swirl me around until I was unsure where I really wanted to go after all.

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You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. ~Rabindranath Tagore

I can however remember some pivotal times when I was in perfect alignment with life’s ideas for me. In my junior year of high school I heard over the loud speaker that there would be an exchange student meeting in the neighboring town at the High School – this message screamed at me, while the rest of the announcements droned on like a groan. My school let exchange students in, but no one had ever gone – hmmm…I knew I had to go to that meeting, I had to go overseas – it was not a “choice” it was a complete moment filled with grace where I knew without question what I was meant to do.

Despite the naysayers and the size of the mountain I had to climb to go, I did find myself on a plane bound for a year in Australia. This year long experience changed my life on so many levels, for I truly discovered how it feels when you are completely in line with what you are meant to do – the universe opens up and lights your path. It takes courage to step down the path of uncertainty to embrace the grand adventure unfolding before you.

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It always seems impossible until it’s done. ~Nelson Mandela

The second time I experienced such grace was when I was looking at colleges. I came upon a respected old women’s college in Virginia, of course it was not the practical chose, nor the wisest according to others – but the minute I saw the place and read about it I knew – that’s where I was meant to go!! Thanks to my mom and the other cheerleaders in my life, this desire became a reality.

Such life changing times like these have dotted my life, creating an exquisite incomplete dot to dot piece of art that will not be done until I take my last breath.  As life changing as the big moments of grace are, I have also been molded forever by the subtle humble experiences that continue to reach deep into my very heart and soul. The moments and times when my life boat was tossed and turned upon unexpected waves, swirled around in another direction that was to teach and awaken in me the true grandeur of life. As I write that line and reflect back on my life I chuckle for the list is so long, I take a deep breath in absolute awe with tears of gratitude.

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Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~John Milton

Reaching back in time a couple of profound experiences made me sincerely aware that all acts and ways of treating others has a ripple effect. My second year of college I was hanging out in my dorm room doing homework when the phone rang (yes, for those of you that can remember it was a land line plugged into a wall), I answered to be completely surprised by the person on the other end, it was a boyfriend I dated for a mere month when I was sixteen. He kindly informed me that he had found my dad’s number and called him to get my contact information – wow, that took guts and effort I thought. He went on to share, “Fawn I am calling you to say thank you, for I will soon graduate from Dentistry school,   I would never have gone after this dream if we had not dated. You always told me I could do anything I wanted to do. That I should go after my dreams. Due to your faith in me I did and soon I will be graduating and getting married. So, thank you for believing in me.” I was speechless on the other end of the phone, so touched, so grateful for his courage to share with me and most of all unbelievably happy that he had gone for it – choosing a very different path than his family which took immense bravery.

The second experience was a couple years later when I lived in Denver working at the big Gart Bros. Sports store downtown. I worked on the street level in the clothing department which meant I often got to see the homeless as they wandered in to get warm or sneak a drink from the drinking fountain. There was one little man who was a regular; he always came by my department, I would say hello and ask how his day was, he would give me a toothless grin and say hello back. One day near Christmas time he entered the store and came directly over to me, holding tight to a small item wrapped in an old paper bag. As he approached he smiled a big hello and upon reaching me he took my hand in his, placing the item in my hand. He looked up into my eyes with an open compassionate presence and stated, “I got you this Christmas present, for you are the first person who has ever been kind to me and made me feel welcome.” Tears filled my eyes (and do as I type and remember) as I looked down at this man who had nothing, no home, no family, and no food, I hugged him with all I was, thanking him for the incredible gift. I will never forget that slice in time – for that courageous loving man taught me so much about life in the pure grace of that moment.

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At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~Albert Schweitzer

In the last nine years life has humbled me beyond what I ever thought possible – bringing me to my knees in awe for the unbelievable grace bestowed upon me and my children. Friends, family, and strangers have truly lifted me/us on the wings of pure divine grace; they have helped us to soar with hearts of gratitude. They have patiently taught me how to receive (still a work in progress), reminded me of the power of true love, held me/us in the arms of profound compassion and reminded me daily that the most precious things in life are the souls we surround our lives with and how we reach out to share in the human dance of life.

There truly are no words to thank the many people who have helped us, making it possible for me to feed my children, keep a roof over our heads, have clothes to protect and warm our bodies, and most importantly to share in the humble gift that true loving connection offers.

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‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. ~Alice Walker

Life is a woven dance between going for our dreams with passion and learning how to receive the pure gifts in the grace of each moment. As individuals we aim the rudder of our life boat towards a goal/dream, we may arrive at that distant shore we set out for, or life may gloriously knock our boat off course to open up even more for us than we ever thought possible. The miraculous adventure unfolds through subtle and profound moments – how we experience it all depends on our willingness to be open to the divine grace that always keeps us afloat and becoming. We are at choice to be sinking victims or adventuresome participants in the glorious journey of life…. As you embark on this New Year, what will you choose?

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As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy

To all of the amazing souls who have graced us along the way thank you for always being the wind beneath our wings – the grace of your caring is truly what lifts me/us every day.

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