Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grace is Dust

If you have ever stood in the middle of a room in your house and been overwhelmed by the mess of it, you may relate to these scattered thoughts of mine.  Yesterday I was reading a short devotional on my phone and the commentator compared God's grace to dust.  Yes, dust.  The tiny particles floating in the air all the time - but that we can only see in the sun's light.  My pet peeve!  I abhor dust.  I get so annoyed by what seems like mounds and mounds of never-ending dust in our house.  And dusting is just a joke we play on ourselves.  We think we're getting rid of it, we think we're cleaning, but in reality we're just moving the dust from one place to the next! It's the same with vacuuming.  Sure the vacuum picks up some stuff, but other dirt flakes or dog hair resting ever so gently under the dining room table or huddled in the corner are only getting blown to another location in the house - it's a tease!

I am embarrassed to say - dust is a bane of my existence.  So how on earth could this commentator compare God's beautiful grace to the nuisance of dust?! it or not...dust is every where.  All the time.  Every day.  Right in front of our faces. it or not...grace is every where.  All the time.  Every day.  Right in front of our faces.

Most of the time we have no clue that dust is accompanying us at our dinner table.  But when the sun shines, when it beams through our front window on a clear, cold winter's day, we see it...tiny particles floating in the air, seemingly carefree and happy to be annoying the crap out of us.

And...if we're honest, most of the time we have no clue that God's grace is accompanying us at our dinner table - or wherever we might be.  Yet when the sun shines upon some aspect of our lives - whether literally through our front window or metaphorically in an act of forgiveness or compassion or friendship or love - we see though it is a tiny dust particle floating in the air, seemingly carefree and happy - and, sometimes even, annoying the crap out of us.

With dust and grace, we have two options.  We can do what I typically do:  say a few choice words while going after the Pledge and a rag, cursing because I just did this yesterday.  While at the same time yelling at the dogs to stop scratching because it only makes the problem worse.  And by that point my entire mood has shifted.  I'm frustrated and edgy and completely self-absorbed by the absolute mess of my house and I know all too well I'll have to do this again tomorrow.

Or - the other option - is to accept dust and God's grace as a part of life.  It doesn't mean we have to like it all the time, either.  We can try to remind ourselves that even the cleanest houses have dust particles floating in the air.  And we can try to remind ourselves that even the people we disagree with most or dislike most are also recipients & bearers of God's amazing grace...God's grace cannot be isolated or controlled or kept neat and tidy for a select few even though we wish it were that way sometimes.  This realization can increase our capacity for compassion, understanding, and kindness.  (Because if you think about it, that's the hardest part of being human.  We know we don't have to love everyone, but we really have to be kind to everyone.  Our world shows us that kindness & understanding can be a matter of life or death).  

If we can accept both dust and grace as integral parts of life, then perhaps we will calm down for a moment and realize that we spend too much energy trying to keep everything so neat and tidy and mess-free so that by the time we've finally given up, we are too exhausted to do anything else.  Especially anything that really matters.

So, if God's grace is like dust, I will try to let it be.  Let the sun show me that those tiny flakes of grace are there, floating and present all the time.  There for me.  There for you.  There for (insert name).

I'll take in a deep breath, which is likely accompanied by dust, exhale and realize - hey, I'm still alive and okay.  It really is okay!

I'll say a prayer of thanksgiving (rather than a curse) for the beauty of the sun shining over a frosted winter yard and beaming into my front window.  I'll hug my dog only to make her have to scratch some more.  I'll watch the dust recirculate through the air and, with all my strength, I will push away the urge to grab the can of Pledge.  I'll breathe and realize it's still okay.  There is important work to be done in this world, and with God's grace, I have a part in it.

The dust will be here tomorrow.  And all of us will still be okay.  How do we know that?

Because the beautiful, perfect and often messy grace of God will be floating around us too.  And, hopefully, we'll breathe it in.

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