These moments are everywhere – every moment, really, is a moment of grace. None of this is deserved. Yes, I’ve worked for what I have. But, do I deserve anymore than the next person? No. Yes, I’ve tried to cultivate meaningful relationships. But, I do deserve loving people in my life more than someone else? No. Moments of grace surround me.
However, I have to remind myself of this. I don’t recognize each moment as a grace-filled one as it’s happening. I have to sit back and be still. I have to be silent. I have to quiet my mind and just look around. I have to release the judgment and observe my life. When I do that, moments of grace pop up everywhere.
One particular moment stands out for me this week. Last month I was given a bag of t-shirts to make into a quilt for someone’s birthday gift. I didn’t meet face-to-face with the one commissioning the quilt, like I often do, so we had a text exchange over the phone. He owns a t-shirt quilt I made for him, so he knows my work. He trusted me to create something his wife will love.
During our conversation we discussed the color for the back of the quilt. I remember him saying something about teal. Teal was engrained in my brain. After I finished the quilt top, I went to the store in search of teal fabric, teal thread and teal embroidery floss. It was a beautiful shade of teal. I put the quilt together with the teal backing, teal hand tying and teal binding. It came together perfectly.
As always, I put the quilt in the washer and then I sent him a message letting him know the quilt was done. After sending that message I looked back through our conversation. Yes, he mentioned teal initially, but then came back and said what about this color of blue…that color of blue was most definitely not teal.
I screwed up. I ruined his wife’s birthday present.
Thankfully this wasn’t a rag quilt, so it would be possible to redo it. I didn’t want to, but I would in order to fix my mistake.
I began to beat myself up: why didn’t I go back and check the message again? Why didn’t I write down the final color in my notebook like I always do? Why, why, why?
That day had been filled with challenging interactions with many people. I ended the day with a big mistake. I went to bed with my head swirling. I had a hard time finding three things to be grateful for. That night I dreamt I drove through a tornado. Well, there you go.
The next morning I knew what I had to do. I sent him pictures of the quilt and explained my mistake. I let him know I would fix it. I wanted his wife to love her new quilt. This surprise quilt.
And then he said… it looks awesome!…it’s no big deal…she’ll like it either way…thanks for offering…
A huge weight lifted off of me when I received that message. In fact, I sighed and smiled. I would have fixed. I would have made it right. But, I didn’t have too because of this moment of grace.
This morning in my reading of In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan Richardson, she writes about the way time spirals in on itself. How we tend to come back to the same situations or feelings or experiences over and over again. And, how we find ourselves (please say you wonder this too…) asking questions like, “I thought I’d have been over that by now” or “I thought I’d have accomplished that before now.” She concluded with this blessing, reminding me that I needed to write this post.
May time spiral well for you,
leading you around
and around yet again
to the landscapes where remembering
offers redemption and grace. (85)
I have yet one more memory to turn back to now, to remind me of what grace looks like. From a person I hardly know, and yet offers me this gift I will hold close. A gift that I will offer to others I hardly know. And one, I pray, they will offer to one they hardly know. Perhaps if we keep passing it along, at some point in the spiral of time, we all will receive it. The key though is to pay attention…it’s a subtle gift, not one for boasting or bragging. It’s one that comes quietly and only those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear will notice it. So, start practicing today. Start looking for those small moments of grace so that you’ll be ready when that special one comes your way.