Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Making Grace a Habit."

I saw this pin on Pinterest, and it made me pause and reevaluate the way I treat strangers on a given day: when driving, standing in line, grocery shopping, getting gas, seeing people that I don't know at work (but I know they are connected to our school in some way), seeing people on the news. I realize that not all of these people radiate warmth and caring themselves (especially drivers in Florida) but I think it's really important to me, now, to leave the best impression and footprint on the world behind.

It's important to remember, in the rush of the day, that everyone is going through something: challenges, pain, grief, frustration, fatigue. That gentleman that zoomed around you to cut you off may be driving his pregnant wife or girlfriend to the hospital. That guy doing 25 in a 45 might be coming home from the hospital with his newborn for the first time. That older lady might have no one else she can depend on to get groceries and needs the extra help loading her car. The impatient person behind you in line might have three hungry kids waiting at home for dinner. I use my imagination often to create a reason to show people grace, because the truth is probably that they have even more to deal with than I can even imagine. Not always, for sure, but even I remember the day when I flew home from my Grandparent's double-funeral and found my car completely covered inside with mold in the airport parking lot and just needed my husband and Toyota to "take care of it"...and they did. (At no cost to me even though my car was over warranty.) That was they day I needed someone else's grace and it was there for me. That is why I have faith in people. Together, we make waves: waves of anger, waves of thoughtfulness (like "paying it forward" at Starbucks) ...what I researched today was Physics related: waves that travel deepest last longest.  So today physics and the dictionary taught me that an idea, like "a surge or rush, as of sensation" can also be "a rising trend that involves a large number of individuals." I love this analogy: if we do this as individuals, in "shallow" or superficial water, the effects are limited, the "wavelength" limited. However, if we do this as a people, and "deepen" by making grace a habit: the wavelength is longer...the impact is longer and greater.

If we as humans can resolve ourselves with the reality of being erased with the ebb and flow of the tide, or a gust of wind, as we will be one day, then we can start to think about the kind of emotional legacy we leave behind...because our materialistic possessions will be scattered to the wind, and our name only memorialized on a Facebook page, and a headstone. Perhaps if I can let go of the earnest human desire to consume and I can redirect my efforts to expend kindness and generosity on others, I can change myself to be someone I like better. Do you like yourself? What habits can you change to be happier?