“Ever hugged a tree? Come on, admit it. I have. One day in distress, I hugged a tree. To my amazement, it did not move or run away. It stayed in place, sturdy, strong, abiding, and true. I guess you could say the tree hugged me.”
“Grace will lead us into fears and voids, and grace will fill us, if we are willing to stay in the void. We mustn’t engineer an answer too quickly. To stay in God’s hands, to trust, means that to a certain degree I have to stop taking hold of things myself. I have to hold instead to a degree of uncertainty, fear and tension. This takes practice and grace. As long as we stay in the world of preference and choice, we keep ourselves as the first reference point. Prayer lives in a spacious place. It is free of personal needs or meanings or even interpretations.”
“Our ideas are like the stones on a path we travel. There is not a single thought that does not take us somewhere. That is why we must not leave our minds in a state of fear if we wish to walk toward inner health and peace.”
“The movement of grace in our lives toward freedom is the mystery. So we simply say “Thanks.” Something had to open, something had to give, and I don’t have a clue how to get things to do that. But they did, or grace did.”
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“To be healed of resentment and move into gratitude requires me to dance — to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life. The mystery of the dance is that its movements are discovered in taking the steps one by one: Some slow, some quick. Some smooth, some not. If all steps on the journey are movements of grace, we can be grateful for every moment we have lived, knowing that all is grace.”
~ Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Formation
Ever hear someone remark about your “gracefulness” when you have had an accident? Maybe you make the remark yourself trying to cover up embarrassment over falling, bumping into something, etc. “I’m so graceful!”
Turns out those words and a humble smile really do allow grace into our lives. Life is full of “happy accidents” if we just allow ourselves to see them for what they are. Movements of grace.