Resolution, Smezsolution…………….

Grace-for-all

Grace-for-all (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a movement afoot that will change the face of New Year’s resolutions forever if it is taken seriously. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the same old, same old resolutions. The revolution of the resolution takes the stance that we find one word that defines what we want to achieve and use that as our resolution. I love this approach.

When I heard about this new way of looking at resolutions, the first word that popped into my mind was “grace”. I think that it covers everything I want to achieve, be, and defines how I want to be treated. The following quotes (from brainyquote.com) illustrate just how wide the scope is that grace embraces:

1. “Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.” ~ Victor Hugo

2. “Courage is grace under pressure.” ~Ernest Hemingway

3. “Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. “Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.~ William Hazlitt

5. “Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.” ~Walter Scott

6. “Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

7. “But – but the greatest way to witness is by walking that straight and narrow and also realizing that you’re going to mess up. That’s what grace is for. We’re going to fall, but we’ve got to get back up. And you’ve got to improve. And that’s what I’m all about.”  ~ Tim Tebow

And if that is not convincing enough of grace’s versatility—here are just some of the definitions of Grace in the Encarta Dictionary: generosity of spirit—a capacity to tolerate, accommodate or forgive people; a short prayer of thanks to God said before….a meal; pleasant and admirable quality or characteristic; elegance, beauty and smoothness of form or movement; dignified, polite, decent behaviour; in Christianity the infinite love, mercy, favour and goodwill shown to humankind by God.

And I will end with some wisdom from Anne Lamont: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

What would your one word resolution be for 2014?

Published in: on January 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Comments (26)  
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Is That All There Is? A Sunday Reflection………..

Sunday Prayers

Sunday Prayers (Photo credit: Steven Leith)

 I was brought up to go to church. First I went to Sunday school—then I graduated to actually going to church and “listening” to the sermon. I became a Sunday School teacher. The President of Mission Circle Girls. A member of the choir (though to this day I cannot carry a tune in a tin pail—but they needed warm bodies). Then I went off to university and went to a few masses with my Catholic friends even though I was not Catholic. It was rather exotic for a girl who had attended a Protestant country church. But I liked the rituals, the incense, the kneeling–even though they were foreign to me.

                After I turned twenty I did not go to church for about 25 years. I still prayed but mostly for good stuff to happen and for someone who was sick. I still believed though I was not sure what it was I believed. In fact, during those years I was perfectly happy. I was in a sort of vacuum. I was a constant seeker, but with a more intellectual bent than with my heart and soul.

                I went back to my country church for a while and was received with open arms and open hearts. I loved the feeling of community—I liked the Minister’s message, and I liked being a part of something. But I became too big a part—I joined too many things and tried to do too much, and I burned out. I stopped going to church because I was no longer able to just go and hear the message—I was too busy being a Sunday School teacher, a youth leader, a member of the Church’s women’s group…………..and on and on.

                I returned to my vacuum, but I returned as a more faithful believer in something bigger than myself. I am still a seeker. I went back to church one more time—but it was no longer for me–and though I love the people at that church, I quit again.

                I call myself a seeker as I guess I am not totally satisfied with the answers. But some of the answers I have sought out make sense to me. Sometimes I think it is easier to not believe than to believe. But I am just stubborn enough to believe in something I cannot touch, taste, smell, or see. But I can feel it. And I know there is something bigger than me. And I believe. It seems to come naturally.

                 I believe in a good God—not a violent, jealous, or vengeful God. And I believe that Jesus did walk the earth, and he did have a message, and the simple message is: *“this is not all there is but keep dancing anyway”.

 *in answer to Peggy Lee’s ballad “Is That All There Is?

                Have you come to some conclusion about your beliefs? Are you an unquestioning believer, a seeker, or an abstainer? Or something else? How do you define yourself?

~ Sundays Past ~

English: Liddesdale Parish Church A small coun...

A small country church  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember when Sundays were a “day of rest” and the only stores open were… hmm…well pretty much nothing was open. Of course this was in my small town which was very WASP-Y (white Anglo-Saxon protestant) and dry until the early 1960’s (though this is not something I remember, as I was not much of an imbiber at nine years old).

Sundays when I was young  was a day when the kids went to church (for some reason my parents did not go, but the four of us kids did—we went to Sunday school, then when we got older, we went to church and joined the choir, and Young Peoples—a group for teenagers). For me church was more of a community/social thing.  Of course God and Jesus played a role, but at the time God was a male father figure, and Jesus apparently “loved the little children”.

Today my beliefs are a little more complex, but I no longer go to church. I do miss “visiting” though. People tended to visit friends and neighbours and family on Sunday afternoon after church. Without calling ahead. They would just drop in. And that was totally socially acceptable.

I remember when people used to have “parlours” set aside for just these visits, and if the minister should happen by. I think it was kind of like the good “living room” that was always neat and no one used it unless they had company. This makes perfect sense to me, with the type of housekeeping I do.

The home I grew up in was not big enough to have a parlour—we lived in the whole house—though because my mom was so neat and clean, it was almost always company ready. But today, I need a parlour—a room set aside that I can go into that will always be neat and clean and not subject to muddy boots, and coats thrown over chairs, and newspapers gloriously spread all over the floor. I try to keep my living room in good shape “just in case”, but this does not always work out.

Back to Sundays of my childhood~

Every Sunday we would have a roast of some kind—pork or beef or roasted chicken, and on occasion fried chicken. The entrée would generally include mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw and a couple of vegetables I would try to avoid eating. I remember spending what felt like two weeks at the dinner table with cold squash in front of me—I was free to leave the table once I had eaten it. I must have eaten it, because today I am not still at the table, but memories of that cold squash still haunt me. It does not affect my grown up penchant for it though, which is strange.

And we always, always, always had a special dessert – most of the time homemade pie or cake and ice cream. In those days we had dessert at every meal, but some were very simple. Sundays were different—no Jell-O, or pudding, or a little syrup in a bowl with a cookie.

I like the freedom of Sundays today—I like that the whole town does not close down. But I do remember the days when visiting was the thing to do on Sunday afternoon, followed by a wonderful meal, then unfortunately as I got older, homework—because of course, I never did it ahead of time.

What are some of your Sunday memories—are they similar to mine, or did you have a totally different “day of rest”?

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