Monday, December 5, 2022
There are places that only grace can go. There are places that don’t make sense, where no answers fit. Places of loneliness, of despair. Places of grief, of deep longing. Places of fretting, over-thinking, and looping fears. Places of fits and starts, mostly fits. And to those places, somehow grace comes and finds us. Somehow this wondrous grace persists and pursues until
we are known again.
Our locked-down Pandemic days haven’t been that long ago. Nowadays some of us, but certainly not all continue to maintain protocols. And many of us are back to busyness as usual…until… we’re exposed and we / someone close to us gets sick. It’s not gone. Yet. Of all the upheaval that COVID was, for me there was one best gift from it. Zoom calls created meeting spaces and became a place where relationships were re-kindled and nurtured. Those calls served as much more than a time to check-in, but often been to me a lifeline.
During the intense time of lockdown zooms brought me grace upon grace. Two regular calls are still happening every Sunday. One with seminary friends and then later with family. Sharing computer screens and cups of tea or gin and tonics with those who “know where I am and know where I’ve been.” No need for any background story because we were part of one another’s stories.
There was one stormy, Sunday afternoon when my Candler friends named the gift of Wondrous Grace. We were talking about our Pandemic days – and how life was somehow unfolding in the midst and mess of them. We were talking about holding on’s and letting go’s. One dear friend was talking about marking an anniversary of grief and how in the midst of it, “Grace had happened. Wondrous grace had happened.” And in that moment, I was thankful for so many things. I was thankful that for more than thirty years we continued to show up for one another. Thankful for giving time and space for little and great stories. Thankful for not feeling alone. Thankful for shared time when we invited our souls to catch up and to breathe. Grateful for the grace that comes if we allow our souls to have a voice. Wondrous grace that wasn’t about fixing or managing problems, but about allowing love to hold us, alone and together. Seeing one another – even on computer screens – was enough for that hour, for that time.
Later it was time for the Sunday family ZOOM. It’s made up mostly of cousins from GA to FL to IL to TX to WA to CA. It’s our once-a-week you’re connected to me call that had begun with our parents on landlines with our maternal grandparents years ago. And (of course) in this Pandemic, Grandma Bobbee is guiding us in and through. So, we call. Never has it been the same gaggle. Different sweet souls each week. One week there were a dozen of us. We checked in. We talked about what was helping us cope. We talked about what was getting us through. And I knew – deep in my bones, that my grandmother had led us to that very moment from all of those long-ago Sunday nights with our parents – to that Sunday night, because she knew at some time (LONG OFF in the future), we would need this. We would need one another. We would need the chance to experience grace-enough again. And that this time – she never could have imagined ZOOMING – but that this would get us through.
Wondrous grace enough for what was and is and what just may be. This wondrous grace meets us where we are. This wondrous grace that patiently waits for us to make our way. Like old friend, Jackson Browne says, “Searchin' the horizon for what we can't quite see, when all we've ever needed has been there all along inside of you and me. I wanna see you holding out your light, I wanna see you light the way. But whether everything will be alright, it's just a little soon to say.”
Thanks to Carol Wilson for walking with me on the beach at just the right time for this picture from Isles of Palms
Loving Creator, you are ever leading us and teaching us to trust in you and in one another. You guide us around the blind corners and up the steep hills. Your signs and nudges lead us so faithfully from what has been into what is yet to be. Thank you for loving us so deeply and so well. We are so grateful, Amen.