Sunday, December 13, 2009

Clinging to Grace

It was one of those mornings. Exhausted from lack of sleep, and from back-to-back play performances; angry with myself for forgetting a key prop -- TWICE; feeling dissed by a comment made in the lobby afterward; sad to be seeing so little of my daughter... And then awoke in time for church (but no time for meditation) and could only see all the ways I was saying "No" after having so boldly posted "Yes" yesterday.

The self-critical demons were out in force, the wrong preacher was preaching, and my friend didn't show: I could feel the day going downhill already, and I still had another performance to do. Things were looking bleak.

But the message -- even though I could barely keep my eyes open (and they're doubly chafing from 6 days in a row of multiple makeup applications) -- was a good one: there is grace, and we are loved. There was probably more to it than that, but that was all I needed to hear. I rested my eyes on the priest's gloriously patchworked Advent robes, and on the lovely advent poem included in the bulletin, written by one of our parishioners. Another parishioner, whom I didn't know, but whose face was familiar, greeted me on the way out with joyful acclamations about the play, which he'd seen the night before, and I left the church to find the temperature finally lifting above freezing -- both inside and out.

It's such a gift, this faith of ours; so nice to know that Grace is present in our lives even when we are not really quite there to feel it. Grace to know we are forgiven for our tiredness and self-absorption, for the times we screw up and the times we have nothing left to give. Grace to be walking through this season of Advent and know that we are not -- EVER -- alone.

And so I share that Advent poem, written by Barbara Hume, whose singing voice is every bit as glorious as her poetic voice:

An Advent Song

A child is born, a heart begins

to the pulse of God's own Son.
Hidden in each longing heart,

new life for a hungry soul.

Chorus: Cantante domino (Sing to the lord)

Cantante novum (Sing a new song)

Pushing, prodding, enlarging our lives

giving birth to a sacred soul

Caring, longing to anchor my heart

to a long lost love of old

Chorus: Cantante domino

Cantante novum

New each advent morning

embraced with the arms of grace

Celebrate the desert blooms

a hope mirrored in each face

Chorus: Cantante domino

Cantante novum

A child is born, a heart begins

to the pulse of God's own Son.

And then I came home to a post from my friend Alice, sent via Blackberry from a bedside vigil for her stepson, who is suffering an acute attack of peritonitis. She has written to say that "nothing more can be done for Todd and we have to wait 48 hours to take him off life support. We're going home to regroup."

Yes, faith tells me there is Grace in this as well. But sometimes it is very hard to see. I am clinging to Grace, and hoping Alice and Todd and his father Bob and sister Kelly are all feeling embraced by Grace, rooted and grounded in Grace, and somehow, somewhere, abounding in Grace.


Maureen said...

We cling to the roots
as to the sign, like
His hand in blessing,
both the taking and
the giving, the receiving
and the falling away.

We hold fast to need
of faith to root the
need for His grace
in our hearts.

We wait.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Diane ... wish I were there to see your play and share the joy and the pain of your moments. A big hug and thanks for all that you share with us.