May 7, 2020
Dear Friends and Readers,
A good friend sent me a text this morning asking if she had missed my April blog and wondered if I were taking a break. She wrote, “I know that writing a blog takes emotional effort and energy, but I’m a Swooning Grace fan and I’ll be waiting for you.” How sweet and supportive, but it’s true….I’ve deliberately delayed sitting down and pouring my heart and soul down on “paper”. My heart has been on retreat and I’ve been pouring my energy in other directions. Don’t ask me what those directions are for I might not be able to explain, but I can try.
My heart has turned inward because I can get overwhelmed and feel a bit powerless, especially when the world changes over night. All the authority, rulings, mandates, directives, laws, that are out of my control ~ I turn over to a Higher Power. Do I handle my powerlessness easily or with grace – not always, but I get points for trying. I do know that Nature is the final arbiter of all things; we can feign control over Her forces, but we are like putty in Her hands.
Falling into protective arms:
In the last seven weeks, I made a point of sitting down in quiet to communicate with the God of my understanding. This is the gift that I come away with. I had a memory of being a Catholic school senior going on retreat in 1972 and one of the exercises was of trust. We were asked to turn our back to the person behind us and fall into his/her arms. As someone who does not like to be out of control, an exercise like this might lead me to hyperventilate (I’ve been known to do this on roller coasters; no more coasters for me!). My memory of the retreat tells me that after some hesitation, I fell back into waiting arms and lived through the experience. 🙂
Yet, this is exactly what I feel I’ve had to do lately. Fall back and hope God catches me. I call it “Falling Inside.” Trusting that all my fears, emotions, anxieties boiling over in my heart will be captured by loving arms. I’ve had to give up all control to the Power that runs this universe. This is the positive that has come out of my time of confinement – no more putting on the back burner good intentions of having a regular spiritual practice. It became do or die. I got the message loud and clear; if I were to cope, I would have to turn to a power greater than myself.
I’ve also been seeking GRACE, anywhere I can find it. One definition of Grace is “the free and unmerited favor of God”. Yes, that kind of Grace is a gift, but I do find it in Nature and in random acts of kindness, and in some rare moments, I have felt Grace suffuse my inner being (thus my blog title, Swooning Grace). I sat in earnest and prayed. I felt as if I were joining hands with people who were hurting all over the world. Over 33 million Americans lost their jobs during this time, with economists warning today that over 40% of those job losses could become permanent. Where is Grace to be found? It is a personal journey each one of us must go on to find respite in the cave of our hearts.
Enter the Three Graces:
The Three Graces sculpture is an iconic and enduring piece of art. The three goddesses from Greek mythology represent radiance, joy and flowering. They are also said to personify charm, grace and beauty. The Graces were especially popular in Renaissance art. If you take a look at Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” the figure on the right is a lone Grace ready to offer the emerging, naked Venus a robe to cover her modesty.
Grace is a family name and as a result, the Graces statue possesses significance for my family and me.
My mother-in-law Jeanette also has a Three Graces statue that’s been in her family for a long time.
The word grace takes on special meaning not only because it’s my Mother’s maiden name and my middle name, but also for all the lovely and divine connotations placed on the word itself, and its enduring portrayal in art and history.
My sisters and I have imbibed a lot of strength from the Three Graces motif, and have dubbed ourselves The Three Graces. There used to be four, but that’s a long story I would prefer to put aside. Suffice to say, there’s three of us right now and we are sticking together like glue.
We’ve been through a lot together and weathered many storms, and are as different as night and day (which is perfectly natural), and we each have our own unique traits and strengths. If I were to assign a heavenly trait conferred over the centuries to the Graces, I’d give Linda the trait of Charm; for Marilyn, I would give Joy. Linda rarely says a cross word and thinks the best of everyone; she loves whales, art and dance. Marilyn is a seeker and grabs life with all gusto and loves travel, especially to historical sacred sites. As the oldest of the sisters, I might grab the Radiance epithet. Why? Because that is what I am constantly seeking – the radiant spark of the Divine that exists in all of us. It’s the prime mover and catalyst for writing this blog ~ to share spirituality with others.
My sisters have stuck by me through thick and thin; they knew I took on the mantel of matriarch after our Father died, when it was never anything I actively sought. Like the middle figure in the statue, I am held up and consoled by the love and support of my sisters.
Here we are in better times in February when they visited me in Palm Desert for a sisters retreat:Children and Grace:
I have a grandson who sought relief recently from a tempest. His father informed me that he and his sister had quarreled, and Emmett went running off into the woods.
When Dad found Emmett, he was sitting on a rock with hands held in prayer. Dad asked “What are you doing?” Emmett replied that he was praying and meditating. He went onto say that he was talking to God, but he didn’t think that God heard his prayers, because the Texas bugs were so noisy!
If that doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, I don’t know what could. This is a moment of grace, seeing my grandson turn inward, towards God and prayer, when he was in the midst of a little personal crisis.
Who’s worried? Not me, says young Jamey who’s enjoying the bliss of a restful slumber and a good dream! Of course, this little face would melt the hardest of hearts! In 22 days, I’ll be holding him and I can’t wait!
Nature is pure grace:
I’ve also had surprising moments of finding grace in beautiful blooms that pop out at me during a stroll. A softer side of hubby is exemplified by the fact that he loves flowers and makes a point of taking me on walks just to point them out! Who could ever feel blue while basking in the glory of the brilliant colors of these cactus blooms or the hibiscus (the boldest of color and largest I’ve ever seen):The Last Supermoon of 2020:
Who would skip out on the luminescent grace of the last supermoon of 2020? It will still be powerful tonight and tomorrow. A supermoon refers to a full moon that comes closest to the earth in its orbit. This May 7th super moon is also a “Flower Moon” because it coincides with the robust blooms of spring.
My heart goes out to hubby who’s been by my side for 40 years – I couldn’t imagine enduring this quarantine experience without you!
May you find peace in your heart, and nurture trust and hope for a glorious, radiant future!
With love and faith,