Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Grace Happens: bumper sticker truth

Shit happens. This we know. We've all experienced it. The letter from the IRS. The scary diagnosis. The moment of terror when your child goes missing. The critical words of someone you thought was a friend. 

Shit happens. 

Some of you would prefer that I not call it "shit." That's a bad word, a dirty word, a swear word. It's offensive and can make people feel uncomfortable. All of which is exactly why I use it. Lets name this stuff for what it is. It's bad, awful even. It's offensive that we should have to put up with it. It's shit. And there's no escaping it. 

But some people would like to escape it. They drown their sorrows in alcohol. They hope the shit will just drift away like their cloud of marijuana smoke. They don't like the story they are living so they dive into the stories of others on reality TV shows. Work, raising the kids, sports, church - they are all ways to try to get away. For some, escape is the only way to deal with all the shit. 

Others think that it is futile to try to escape the shit. So they wallow in it. It defines them. I've got friends who seem to relish in the drama. It gives them something of significance to live for. But eventually, it just gets old. And all your left with is shit.

As undeniable as "shit happens" is, there is another parallel truth - grace happens. As sure as bad news is to come, so too is good news. For every critical and cranky person, there is one who brings encouragement and help. As dark as the night gets, the morning light always pierces it. Grace happens.
  • Sitting next to a lake in twenty minutes of silence, grace happens.
  • Watching a group of my friends gather around the communion table together, grace happens.
  • Being able to listen to my friends tell their stories without feeling the need to condemn or fix them, grace happens.
  • Tossing the football around with my son and seeing him make a great catch, grace happens.
  • Belly laughing at one of my daughter's jokes, grace happens.
  • Having a quiet glass of wine with my wife at the end of a long day, grace happens.
  • Enjoying a good night's sleep, grace happens.

These things are all grace. They are unexpected, undeserved moments that bring me love, peace, and hope. In a world that often feels very shitty, they are gentle and necessary reminders that love wins over hate, peace wins over chaos, and hope wins over despair.

The fundamentalism I grew up in taught me to focus on the negative - other people's mistakes and errors, how the spiral of human history is headed downward. It taught me to focus on all the shit. I'm learning now to focus on grace instead. I just like my life better when I do. Shit happens. But grace happens too.

You can get a GRACE HAPPENS bumper sticker by contributing 10 bucks to the Fundamorphosis Indiegogo campaign.

How have you seen grace happen in your life?


1 comment:

klasieprof said...

The certainty of "black and white" beliefs within the fundamentalist arena is at times quite comforting--IF you are on the INSIDE of the arena. Step out of that circle and suddenly the cold dark winds blow, and you are left alone. I have experienced this many times in my spiritual history.
I don't mean to be a rebel as far as "BELIEF" goes...but the unfairness of it within the fundamentalist movement just makes me raw in my soul.
One of the times I felt abandoned was when I left a very fundamental Baptist Bible College, Dr Jim Vineyard's church in Oklahoma City-Windsor Hills Baptist Church and Oklahoma Baptist college. The church preached (and if you didn't follow the rules your life work of being Led by God to do anything was seriously compromised), so when it was 90 degrees outside, women wore "Hose" (nylons to anyone outside the arena) open toed shoes and NEVER pants (which outlined a woman's thighs so that men would be so uncontrollably filled with lust they would "ACT" on it and it would be the woman's fault for wearing pants.) I remember over 3,000 in church, and Dr. Vineyard stopping to call a woman a whore who wore pants. (I am not kidding). Maybe some reader here will understand the HUGEness of even naming names here. But..I digress...
For various and sinful reasons, I left the school, rather than be "disciplined" and censured by the school.

The students (one that "I" led to the Lord) was ordered to have NO communication with me. We had been best friends, and worked at Dairy Queen as Managers together. She was also from Michigan, single and her parents thought she went insane. I guess because of my involvement with her, she did.

What did Grace do? Grace taught me that I didn't have to be a part of a school that lessened my worth, that condoned marital physical beatings, that interfered with the primacy of the family, that threatened one's calling if you disagreed.
Grace more than anything, gave me HOPE. Hope that God was somehow above all this ridiculousness, and Hope that God had more freedom in mind for me. Hope that my personality was made by God, and could be used by God to serve in unique ways.
Yep...Grace gave me Hope.