Greater Grace

Sometimes, when we face conflict, we’re not sure if we can have the grace to handle various situations. I constantly remind myself that kindness goes a long way in solving escalations. And I’ve also heard that if you take things with grace and dignity, you find yourself with others seeing you more respectful than others would be. I’m not sure how much truth is in that statement. Still, I have found from personal experience that when people handle various situations with grace and kindness, I have found them to be more open-minded and willing to listen to problems and come up with solutions.

I have a customer who has recently lost everything. She had a fire not too long ago. Her home, possessions, and memories all went up in flames. Her rent has increased more than anyone expected. Part of the fallout from Covid has been increased prices from virtually every company and business. Many of us who worked through the pandemic have found ourselves making less money than people being brought in off the street. While we agree that wages need to be higher, it needs to be all across the board, not just for new people coming in. Anyway, her landlord increased the rent by $180. She has two children, and their expenses have gone up as well. She’s currently working three jobs as it is. She is a testament to the paycheck to paycheck life.

She called me in tears. She had no idea how she would cover her rent for her unit or how she was even going to put food on the table. Technically, she makes too much for Medicaid, but she only misses it by about $5. I put her in contact with a local nonprofit that might help her throughout this time. I hope they can help her get back on her feet. She is one of the folks who could use a lot of grace at the moment. Having people yell at her with their hands out for money is not helping her. All that’s doing is distressing her more and making her worry more than she needs to.

I use her situation because many of us can understand the predicament she’s finding herself in. But what about all of us? Haven’t there been times where we all needed a bit of compassion and grace? There were times in my life where I was hitting rock bottom, and I needed a break. Rarely was I given that courtesy. And the few times that I was, people made me feel guilty about those breaks. So many times, we all find ourselves in situations that we never thought we would encounter in our lives. It’s simple to criticize when you disagree with the direction a person is going, but unless you are walking that walk with them, you have no idea what complications that person is dealing with in their lives. Society gives us so many expectations, and now everything has come down to dollars and cents. Everything has become a power struggle or a notoriety issue. We’re so busy bashing each other over-vaccination statuses that we forget about how people are people, and we all make up this planet. We ridicule people of different races and cultures than our own, and for what? Why does one race have to be superior to another? The last time I checked, we all bled red.

Grace is about showing people that they matter. It’s about showing unconditional love and understanding. It allows us to reach out to those that we don’t even know and help them through dark times find ways into a light. It doesn’t have to be about religion. It can be about the human connection. Every time I look at the communities I grew up around, I am astonished at how everything is growing around me. I look at the buildings built, and I see so much money going into those buildings and coming out of them. But I also know the trash builds up, and facilities face abuse. It’s easy to think certain groups may be full of garbage because of their past track record. But it’s not always true. I used to work as a vendor at Costco. I watched how people with some serious money made the bathrooms look nasty. The same men and women who messed those bathrooms up came out with quite a bit of money. You could tell they were in positions of power. They acted as if the world owed them a favor.

People come from all different walks of life. Some are cloaked with invisible layers that only show aside that they want you to see. I’ve seen wealthy people who didn’t think the rules applied to them, so they managed to treat people the way they felt they were entitled to because of their status. I was on the reciprocating end of that several times. The people that decided that I wasn’t worth their time didn’t show me grace. They taught me how to be on guard. They taught me more extraordinary grace by doing for others in many ways.

I didn’t want to emulate their behavior. I decided after high school that I would treat everyone not only with kindness but on an equal footing. If they acted better than me, I brought them down a notch by treating them with more respect than they showed me. If they raised their voice, I’d keep mine calm. If they started making fun of me or others, I would remind them that karma is a real bitch. Eventually, I held my own against some of those folks. I like to think that I could give them some lessons in greater grace.

Because of my faith, I choose to believe that God gives grace to all of us in ways that we don’t always recognize. It’s okay if you don’t think the same way I do. But I think all of us can agree that kindness helps when we struggle. Compassion and empathy go a long way to helping someone that doesn’t know what to do anymore. Sometimes we all need that little bit of human connection or even an animal connection to tell us that everything will be alright. It’s okay to feel like we have times that aren’t fun. What’s important is that we see that there are people in worse situations than what we are living and that if we show grace to others, we may be changing lives for the better, including our own.

My hope for all of you is that you encounter your forms of greater grace and can spread that to those you see need it the most. This world has so many issues, and we don’t need to be part of the problem but rather part of the solution. If you see someone facing bullying or someone having a hard time, it never hurts to show compassion and grace. You might be helping to save their life in the long run. Hell, they might even save yours, and you not even realize what happened. The important thing is to use the grace lessons that we all learn along the way to better this world. Have a great day, everyone.

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