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Grace

Ask ten different people for a definition of grace, and you’ll receive ten different answers.

What does grace mean to you?

In the last few months, my wife and I have both separately admitted to each other our need to work on grace, but to put into words exactly what we meant by that statement proved difficult. To paraphrase the profane in an attempt to define the sacred, “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it.”

Turning to the most used book in my library, Roget’s Thesaurus, proved of little help.

Grace in Roget's Thesaurus
Grace in Roget’s Thesaurus

Old dictionaries are another favorite resource of mine, but the 1971 Funk & Wagnalls, with thirteen different entries for grace, failed to narrow the definition to anything distinct.

Great writers have often invoked grace, but once again, the definition of the word remains elusive.

[shareable cite=”Elie Wiesel”]For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.[/shareable]

[shareable cite=”Victor Hugo”]When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.[/shareable]

[shareable cite=”Anne Lamott”]I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.[/shareable]

Within myself and my actions, the absence of grace is more discernible than the presence of it. I recognize that may say more about me than it does about the nature of grace. Trying to capture the meaning of grace is like trying to capture smoke in your hands.

Perhaps grace is meant to be a concept that defies a singular definition, and its ethereal nature preserves its sanctity. Furthermore, perhaps the effort is poorly spent on definition, and better spent on personification.

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