This past week, I mistakenly received an email from an organization asking for my volunteer support. This happens now and again because there are several farms named “Grow in Grace.” As Sophia would have it, some of my recent readings for my spiritual direction program have focused on grace as well. Needless to say, grace has been on my mind.
As I’ve leaned more deeply into my spiritual journey, I have been very intentional about extending grace to others. Now while the human in me sometimes overshadows that intention, I continue to practice mindfulness.
I’ve realized recently, however, that more times than not I am not so good at extending grace to myself.
Even my spiritual director has asked if I have befriended Harsh Judge a time or two.
Harsh Judge likes to come visit when my world feels a bit chaotic or overbearing. She likes to sit within my soul and suggest that I could be better at forgiveness or letting go of angst or being more charitable to others. She can be like childhood bullies who swoop in when they see you at your weakest. She doesn’t make a big scene though, she just sits calmly within me and pokes, prods, and wheedles until I’m in that spiral of self doubt.
This morning during my prayer time, Sophia whispered “grace” into my ear, but Harsh Judge pushed her way to the front of the line. I snapped back, “I’m extending it as much as I can, as much as I have.” Sophia gently scooted Harsh Judge to the side, wrapped her arm around me, and smiled, “Grace for you, my dear. Grace for you.”
I continued to meditate on her advice as I picked daffodils at work this morning. Suddenly, a rabbit darted from under a bush, and the dogs jerked their leashes out of my hand to chase the small animal. After I wrangled them out of a briar patch, I hurriedly went back to picking flowers.
After a minute, I stopped.
I realized, in an effort to care for the dogs, I was literally jerking the flowers out of the ground or smooshing them as I clasped them firmly in my hand. To finish quickly, I was actually bruising the delicate petals, neglecting their needs.
I took a breath, parked the dogs inside, then came back to the activity that soothed my spirit.
In that moment, I experienced what it means to “grow in grace.”