on today’s particular graces

Wellness and sufficiency—of food, water, shelter, health, resources, companionship, and a chance to contribute—let a person enjoy a certain ease within an ordinary day. Let one thing slip, and the ease fractures, too. Let many go, though, as is so for hundreds of millions of human beings on the earth today, and ease becomes elusive.

When we walk deeply within the valley of the shadow of death, in some mysterious way, ease comes back alongside, holding the core together even as all else falls apart. Even for those of us who have not the resources to purchase ease or its granters, there is an unspeakable grace upon which we can rely. We may be dying too soon and for lack of the things that the well-provisioned can never lack. We may be without the comforts they can enjoy even to death’s door. But there is a grace at this door that cannot be purchased. And we have the graces, too, of whatever we have wrought or worked hard at or been given.

Today I am glad to know this: I have done everything I could think of to help others who have been in need; I have lived my life so that, no matter how little I have had, I have been able to share it with others who had less (and I usually tried to do this anonymously so that no one would ever have to feel beholden); I have never—not once—complained about having to contribute (in taxes, for example) to my society so that those who are in greater need have the community’s assistance; I have lived knowing full well that I deserve nothing that every other being on the planet does not deserve. I’m no saint, but I decided a long, long time ago that having in excess while others do without was not going to be my bio. It’s a comfort, that decision and the sometimes rocky road between it and now. And I have been exceedingly well-companioned on my journey, too, aided by friends and strangers alike at critical times in small ways that sometimes made the difference between life and death, dinner and hunger, a functioning automobile or none. And that, too, continues to be a comfort. With systems as broken as ours now, of course, that help cannot rescue a person buried in the maw, but it is a comfort just the same.

So there is great grace in the world. More could be available for everyone, however, if more people wrote a bio that was more about helping others than themselves. More about turning all resources straight back to help others (instead of buying more toys and entertainment, bigger cars or houses, finer clothes). More about building a livable world for all, rather than just a well-provisioned few. More about honoring the beings alongside us and less about seeking honor. More about loving and less about having. More about ensuring that inequalities and injustices are made so public that they must be changed–enough to turn them into nought but stories from an older, uglier time, enough to turn them into histories that help us build a better world for our next generations than we are doing now.

We are capable of far better than this. We can and must do better than this. Uncountable millions know and are doing this every day. Knowing that to the bone is, for me, today’s particular grace.

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