Grace as a Verb: Clarity as a Strategy
By Tricia Stewart Shiu
Grace as a Verb: Clarity as a Strategy – Read by Tricia Stewart Shiu
Finish this sentence.
Desperate times, call for ________.
Before you fill-in that chasm-like blank space with an abysmal catchphrase or cliché, ask yourself how your answer best serves you, your family, friends, and/or your community.
No doubt, you’ve experienced some form of desperation over the last year or even beyond that. We all have experienced desperation.
Occasionally, life will throw a strong curveball, right in the middle of your beautifully settled life.
It is within these moments of undefined terror, blind confusion, or just plain numbed, stumped-ness, that an extra level of understanding is needed…
ARTISTIC ALLEGORY | LE MOT JUSTE
… It is anyone’s guess, as to what is required to navigate the unsettled, jarring occurrences that tend to happen, throughout life—but, one thing is certain—the answer lies beyond any action, beyond thought, yes, the thing needed in times like these, is grace.
Nothing against action or thought. But, sometimes there are no actions or thoughts or, for that matter, words that can get us through, even a minute of such a challenge.
My father has dementia. It’s been challenging watching him weave his way through the uncertainty of his diagnosis. Some days are better than others, but one thing I’ve observed about him is that he has exhibited, embodied, and modeled more grace than I have ever before witnessed in any other human being.
What is Grace?
Many people attach biblical or religious meaning to grace. Yet others, focus their definitions
around an individual’s attractiveness, magnetism, or charisma.
One of the aptest definitions comes from Webster’s dictionary:
“Unmerited divine assistance is given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”
Grace promises release from suffering or pain, but the manner in which one might receive grace is unclear. How does one do it? The definition does include the word “unmerited” which alludes to a particular type of detachment from the desired outcome.
Back to my father, whose grace has defied the myriad of dips and peaks associated with his diagnosis.
On several occasions, it’s been apparent that he clearly acknowledges the reality and stays absolutely, resolutely, and radically present. Now, his presence changes with each passing hour, waxing and waning with a mysterious flow, known only to him. But, from my perspective, this radical presence and acknowledgment is grace.
He is just one person, but sometimes, a single human being, living their life in absolute “Capital R” Reality, staying present in each and every joy and challenge, is the best example anyone needs. This is absolutely true, in my father’s case.
Given that, here are some things I’ve observed:
Facing your worst nightmare with neutrality and calm
Fighting till your last breath, for what you truly believe in, opening your arms wide, with acceptance, during a life-altering challenge
Surrendering to a higher power when receiving heartbreaking news
Facing fate with dignity.
Feeling every feeling to its fullest (even the tough ones)
Compassion for others
Sometimes, those lifetime curveballs that hit you right between the eyes, can show you exactly who you are. It takes clarity to see those events and yourself, as you are, as well. If you are reading this, my wish for you is gentleness, peace, and compassion for yourself—and most of all, grace.