Grace. Just that.

I’m not perfect. I’m not quite sure anyone is or supposed to be for that matter. I’m sure people think they are or strive to be, but I hate that word. We are all human and we have strengths, flaws, interests, talents, things we suck at, etc.

But let’s dive a bit deeper. How many of us have imagined that if we were better looking, we would be happier? Or smarter, stronger, richer, funnier, or thinner. Never made a mistake. Could go back and change that one thing. Didn’t do that one thing… The pursuit of perfection can get pretty subtle and subconscious, but when it’s out loud and you recognize it, it haunts you. It’s easy to get drawn into a misguided effort to become a perfectly functioning human: always knowing the right thing to say, never taking things too personally, easily finding an ideal work-life balance, doing the perfect yoga move, never ever again getting drawn into our old worries, preoccupations, bitterness, or conflicts. Being able to let go of past traumas. All these things- they are just things but our human nature is to latch onto all of these things. I have shed my share of tears anguishing over my imperfections and wanting so much to overcome them, to be done with them, frankly, to get rid of all of them. Or find someone to see that light in me so I can see the light in me.

Whatever happened to giving grace, to forgiving, to understanding that some of us are so buried in life and work and trying to create that balance, that we miss a step. To talking about those missed steps and understanding that we are human and we are not perfect. And if you’re like me (type A personality, OCD, perseverates over everything, takes things personally, and strives for perfection- aka competing against myself, then you know when you make a mistake, it’s almost the end of the world. Then you rely on a tribe to reel you back in. And typically they do, but if you can’t forgive yourself or you harp on what you do wrong instead of all the things you do right, then how can anyone else forgive you? Or see you through with grace?

As humans, especially with how chaotic life can be, we need to do a better job at this. Yes, some of us have made HUGE mistakes that have costed more than we imagine- friendship, lives, trust, etc. But this is the journey, right? The journey of life. Chaos comes and goes as it pleases and we learn important lessons along our journeys. Some cost more than others, but next time someone you know or love makes a mistake or shows their imperfections, or next time that person is you- look at the bigger picture. Was there intent? Are they remorseful? Can we move on from this? Can we make this better? Does this person mean well?

Remember this: “Grace does not mean excusing or ignoring fault or failure or bad behavior. Grace requires us to look at the recipient with compassion (which is defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others).”

The point? That regardless of what another person may do or say, we can choose to extend grace. There may still be consequences for their behavior, but it doesn’t have to move in and live in our hearts. Grace is something we can generate on purpose out of compassion for others and for the love of God, this world needs to do a better job.

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