Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Living With (and Without) Grace

“Grace: The exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to benefit or serve another; favor bestowed or privilege conferred.”

Today would have been my grandmother’s 92nd birthday. Grace died last December, just shy of the new year. All day I have been thinking about what is has been like to live with grace after the loss of Grace.

My grandmother taught me the art of listening deeply, with pure openness and compassion. She always seemed to live very much in the present moment, and she met me wherever I was in my life without judgment. She saw the present me, not some shadow of my former self.

This capacity for listening, true and genuine listening, without judgment, is a powerful gift she gave to me. And, this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye reminds me of this gift—and of Grace.

You Have to Be Careful

You have to be careful telling things.
Some ears are tunnels.
Your words will go and get lost in the dark.
Some ears are flat pans like the miners uses
looking for gold.
What you say will be washed out with the stones.

You look a long time till you find the right ears.
Till then, there are birds and lamps to be spoken to,
a patient cloth rubbing shine in circles,
and the slow, gradually growing posibility
that when you find such ears,
they already know.

May we all become the open and accepting ears for each other, listening deeply with compassion and grace.

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