My friend Casey talks about “Moments of Grace,” and I think it’s a beautiful conception, one I want to share with all of you. It’s very relevant to taking risks in pursuing one’s passion because it answers the question, “How can I possibly change my life from this one to the one I want to have?”
A Moment of Grace is best understood as a door that quietly swings open just off to the side of our usual path. Inside the door we can catch a fleeting glimpse of ourselves. But not ourselves as we are, rather ourselves as we might be, if we were a little more healthy, a little more honest, a little more true. I guess you could say a Moment of Grace is a beckoning doorway to our potential, our calling, our passion.
For me, one such Moment of Grace happened when I was around thirty years old, and I was totally depressed and feeling lost in my life. I didn’t know why I was here, what I was supposed to be doing, or how to begin to figure anything like that out. I was getting drunk every day to deal with my pain and anxiety. One night, I think we were in a car driving somewhere, I was talking about this with my friend Kara. She simply said, “Maybe you ought to quit drinking.”
And I did.
Now, anyone who drinks too much, or loves someone who does, has heard or said those few words. And pretty much everyone knows that the most likely outcome is that the words will be ignored or dismissed. I said this same phrase to someone I love recently, and dismissal would have been a vast improvement over what happened.
But for some reason when Kara spoke those words to me, I became aware of a door slowly, quietly opening just off to the side of my usual path. And I caught a fleeting glimpse of myself inside that doorway, not me as I was, but me as I could become.
Kara’s words coincided with a Moment of Grace.
Casey says the Moments happen all the time, all around us. But most of the time we just walk right by them.
Maybe we’re too busy to notice them. They are off to the side, and we’re dashing from one place to another with our eyes locked on the next task to be accomplished. We don’t look from side to side, we’re moving so fast we’re watching our feet, making sure we don’t trip over anything unexpected. We’re fully committed to the hypnosis of our daily experience, and we don’t have the time for any distractions.
Or maybe we notice, but we are so wrapped up in responsibility that we are unable to fathom how others would live without our steady and predictable devotion. So we pass the Moments by, with deep regret and even resentment.
Or maybe we find ourselves bound by behaviors we’ve adopted to help us feel safe and secure. Maybe we’ve found it necessary to mitigate our experience of all this by medicating ourselves with drugs or alcohol, or sugar, or control, or food, or sex, or by working every waking minute. And maybe those behaviors feel like they are the only things making it possible for us to survive, to carry the burden of pain we have in our hearts. So we have to pass the Moments, pass up those apparitions of our potential, because walking through just one of those doorways would necessitate becoming more present, and we just can’t imagine how we could survive that.
But despite being too busy, despite subjugating ourselves to our responsibilities, despite our enslavement to our mitigating behaviors, the Moments of Grace keep happening. All around us. All the time.
That’s the thing about Grace, there’s no stopping its invitation.
Grace is the short answer to the question, “How can I change my life from this one to the one I want to have?”
I believe that the reason we were each given the opportunity to live is to be found in the pursuit of our passion. Because our passion can be best understood as our own magnetic north, drawing us like a compass needle toward becoming what we alone were created to become. And All That Is will not rest in fulfillment until each of us has found our true expression.
So next time you start to think about what you are passionate about, and you wish you could find some way to move toward it, through all those things that get in your way, I hope you’ll remember that Casey’s “Moments of Grace” are happening all around you, all the time. And all you have to do is start to pay attention, and pretty soon you’ll glimpse one of those beckoning doorways, and when the time is right, I just know you will let Grace draw you through.
Marg Herder is a writer, sound artist, photographer, and web designer. She serves as the Director of Public Information for Christian Feminism Today. More of her creative work can be found on her website, margherder.com. She is the author of the blog, Where She Is, on Christian Feminism Today. She is one of the panelists for the November 7, 2013, Spirit & Place event, The Risk of Pursuing Your Passion. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held at the First Mennonite Church, 4601 Knollton Rd, Indianapolis, IN, 46228. Doors open at 6:30 pm, event begins at 7:00 pm.