I was struck today with a passage in Elizabeth Lesser’s book Broken Open. She writes about a friend that has a stroke and while in the painful process of rehabilitation, barely being able to speak sentence, likens his condition to getting fierce grace. Not the bubbly, happy, lovely grace but the take the Ego out of your life, break you open, lose things, see who you really are…..grace.
This notion brings a tear to my eye. These two ideas of Grace are but one in the same. The awakening and glimpse into our souls does not always come to us in a pretty gift, wrapped in a bow. It’s often times delivered to us on a heavy plate of vile brokenness and heartache. Why?
I’ve told the story before about how as a teenager I watched my mother be served with ‘fierce grace.’ Within a little over a year, she lost her mother, father, and stepmother. Finally, as a huge animal lover, on the night her two dogs were run over and killed, I thought she was going to lose her mind. I hadn’t put the dogs away correctly earlier that day so I ran to my bedroom, feeling waves of guilt, fear and loss of my own. I could hear this normally emotionally contained woman, moan and cry in pain. Strong in Christian faith, she wasn’t backing away or giving in, but calling for God to meet her at the threshold of her pain. I was only 18, but I instinctively understood that I was witnessing someone being broken open. It was an incredibly heartbreaking yet organically human response, all at the same time. Connecting this process of being broken to the word grace and grace being a gift…..does it then make our suffering a gift? Perhaps that is left up to us and how we choose to examine the remnants of what is exposed in our soul after difficulty. We get to choose. My journey began when I heard the whisper to choose well.The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you Don’t go back to sleep You must ask for what you really want Don’t go back to sleep People are going back and forth across the doorsill Where the two worlds touch The door is round and open Don’t go back to sleep -Rumi