On a regular basis I like to recall times when things have felt really aligned in my life, like a prayer request that has been answered to my delight. I do this as part of a gratitude practice to remind me that, whatever my current dilemmas might be, whatever my wishes are, they too could be resolved or realized at some point. When doing this ritual recently, I zoomed out from the particular memory to see the context around the “answered prayer.” I remembered that life is an ongoing mix of blessing and challenge… that despite whatever is happening there are always graces interwoven.
One example of alignment I recalled is when I was in graduate school and loving every minute of it. My time there was a huge gift and, if you looked at that experience independently, it was nearly perfect. Yet the backdrop of my life at that time was anything but perfect. When I started the program I was putting my heart back together after a terrible breakup, and by the time I graduated my father was confined to a hospital bed in our living room due to cancer. Thus the curriculum was such a grace interwoven for me at that time.
Another example I recalled is when I finally got to Kenya, after six years of planning, saving, and fundraising to fulfill a lifelong dream of going to Africa. Again, if I were to share my reaction to the experience in and of itself you would hear me describe how incredible it was, nothing short of amazing. Yet the backdrop here was that just three weeks before I was scheduled to go my father had died — a devastating loss for me. Still the trip was the realization of something I had wanted for so long, and it turned out that being in a foreign land was a grace interwoven for my grieving heart.
I have many more examples like these that demonstrate hardship or loss leading to or including some grace. We all do. Just look at the past year of enduring the Covid pandemic. What a dreadful experience for the world, with acute suffering for so many. Even still, a lot of graces have emerged in unexpected ways. And the graces of any situation don’t justify the pain or destruction to our lives but they do remind us that hope is a reality — that something good can be found even as we ache, and that this good will rise up again and again.
Where can you identify the graces Interwoven in your life?
May you be inspired!