WTF is Grace Anyway?
What To Do When The Rug Is Pulled Out From Under You
In November 2004 I was slated to move into an apartment with a friend and colleague. I had given notice at my current place, rented the truck, everything was set. Four short days before I was to move, I was sipping a latte at Starbucks when I got a call from my new roommate. For reasons outside of her control, the whole thing had fallen through at the last minute. Her current roommate was staying, and I had nowhere to go. Keep in mind, this was also three days before Thanksgiving... not exactly a huge hustle time in the rental market.
I was stunned. I fell perfectly silent. And then, for some reason I can't explain... I was completely calm. I thanked and reassured her with a graciousness that surprised the shit out of me, and I hung up the phone. I took a deep breath, expecting to be overwhelmed by panic. But it never came. An inexplicable sense of acceptance rolled over me, and what was that (relief?... ?!), followed by a sense that something was so RIGHT about everything in that f'ed up mess of a moment.
I got into my car to drive toward work. But I turned left instead of right. I drove straight toward the neighborhood I MOST wanted to live in. I drove and drove... weaving closer to the forest I wanted to be near. I called numbers on a few apartment complexes (per the signs posted outside). They were all out of my price range. And by a lot. All the while, a voice inside taunted me to quit... “give it up, girl! you can’t afford to live here. and you are going to be SO late for work! JUST GIVE. IT. UP!”
But instead, I ignored it. I kept driving. I kept calling numbers. Still nothing I could afford. And just as I was about to give up (mind you, only 20 minutes into this little adventure), I decided to drive to the end of the road. Almost to where the road dead-ended, I saw a set of lovely little red steps leading into a landscaped courtyard. It was an eight-unit complex where every unit had its own hand-carved wooden front door. I loved it immediately. And at the top of the steps was a “for rent” sign. I called apprehensively, and a sweet elderly lady answered the phone. I could immediately feel she was very kind... “The door is unlocked... go on in, honey." I toured a lovely little one-bedroom abode and anxiously asked questions: Would you allow for my cat? “Oh, I just love cats! Even more than people, sometimes!” she giggled. When could I move in? “Well, it’s available NOW, honey.” And the most dreaded question: (gulp) How much is it? (holding breath) “oh I try and keep it low.”... she then quoted me a price that left my mouth gaping open. It was $25 more a month than the teeny tiny studio I had been living in for the past year. I almost fell over with relief and amazement at how easy it had been. Too easy??...
Nope. I moved in three days later.
On top of that, it was hands-down the easiest move of my life. My friend and her roommate felt so bad that they had left me hanging, I had all the man and muscle power that they could call upon. It was a 3-hour move, tops. A total breeze. It still makes me smile remembering how few boxes I carried.
Living there was a pivotal time in my life... things wouldn’t have been the same if I had ended up anywhere else.
It was (and still is) a miracle moment in my life. That day I understood the sensation of grace. Moving forward, while letting it happen. I went from crisis to solution in 20-minutes... all by remaining calm and insisting upon something better.
Now I haven’t had that much grace in response to every crisis in my life (that’s for damned sure!)... but I do know that when I persist without forcing... when I keep driving in life... when I make the calls... when I become available to the impossible... and when I am willing to do my part to make it so, I almost always get what I want.
I really do get what I want, a lot of the time. Maybe not right away. But eventually, yes. Ask the people who know me. Many people see this as a positive, but I have been condemned for it more than once. Maybe it’s because I am stubborn to a fault. Sure... maybe I need to tone it down from time to time (when I become impatient or focus on the wrong things), but when it comes to insisting on a life that I love, persistence works for me.
Or better said... I work for life. So life works for me.
So when the rug is pulled out from under you, curse only for a moment, get your ass up, and get moving. The next chapter is in front of you... like an automatic door you can’t see. You have to step forward, insist on its existence... get close enough and it will S W I N G W I D E O P E N.
Grace is a delicious thing, but it can’t happen without you.