(GRACE Comes) To borrow a phrase from Mary Oliver, “at least closer.” (Image sourced from masterschannel.com.)
Somewhere along the way, I started breaking one of my cardinal rules.
When I lectured in university, I made it a point to never teach full-time. Teaching, it seemed to me, was something I could only fall and stay in love with if I didn’t actually devote my life to it. (I feel the same way about pets. And children. And about practically everything, actually.)
And then I opened the studio and my life as a dilettante ended. Suddenly, everything I did was full-time and full-on, and the next eighteen months were about managing my love-hate relationship with a 297 square meter space that I’d helped create.
On the one hand, creating the studio from virtually nothing was—and still is—one of the greatest miracles of my existence.
On the other hand, bringing it to life cost me the freedom and security I’d always taken for granted and enjoyed.
(One of the biggest lessons I learned from all this was that Oscar Wilde is always right. After all, he did say that “In this world, there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
On a good day, I’ll feel like I got exactly what I wanted.
On a bad day, I’ll feel like I paid too high a price for getting what I wanted.
The good news is that I’ve been having more good days than bad days.
The bad news is that I’m temperamentally inclined to dwell on bad days more than good ones.)
On the very worst days, I can’t justify my choices at all, and that’s when I really get how simple and down-to-earth and ordinary courage is. It’s about opening your eyes and getting out of bed and making the coffee and going to work when the whys and the hows of life have abandoned you—when all that’s left are the whats and wheres and by when and how much.
It’s about grace too, because on the very worst of the worst days, even simple and down-to-earth and ordinary courage seems remote—seems beyond the confines of an already exhausted heart. And then the kindnesses come: a word of thanks, a gift of chocolate, a ray of sunlight.
If I’ve made it this far, it’s not from an abundance of courage but from a profusion of grace.
This is me giving thanks for having made it this far, for being granted such grace, and yes, for possessing what courage I do have.
It’s more than enough.