Thursday, June 05, 2008

Grace upon grace upon grace

I mentioned yesterday that I’d had lunch with a friend. She taught my Monday morning class, of which I’d missed the last month. (I’d left in the middle of it when I’d had three calls from Kaiser in the space of an hour; and either had appointments or was recuperating, the rest of the term. Once I missed because I dearly needed chapel.)

It was a GTU class, taught at PSR. I’d cleaved to my core community, and to the faculty who knew me well. I’d let everything go, that I could. She knew where I was, and I knew it was okay that I was tending to myself. But I hadn’t kept up that relationship.

A couple of days ago, she tagged me on Facebook. She wrote on my wall, asking how I was. It was a brief, and loving, note. I answered with a paragraph about where I had been, was, and would be. I felt… safe. Her note came out of nowhere, and it freed me of the shades of guilt I’d felt for not staying in touch.

It was a kind, gracious, channel-opening exchange. I was grateful; I was also busy, and I didn’t think much more about it. Then yesterday, she asked me to lunch. I was packed (took me days) and not in a huge rush to leave, so I accepted. I’d always liked her, though I’d missed so much school that I hadn’t known her well. I said yes to connecting, before I left for the Valley and she goes overseas.

She greeted me with a big hug, and, “The Lord be with you!” We spoke the Eucharistic dialogue. The conversation that followed was a sacramental whirlwind. Her wallet was lost, so she fed us both on the $10 in her pocket. And told me the story of the Holy Child of Atocha, who had given bread to starving people in prison. Hence: this child had made off with her wallet, to do good where it was most needed.

I would have panicked about my missing wallet, and cursed my own idiocy in losing it. I don’t see grace in that sort of thing. She showed me: it’s perspective. Grace is in the eyes through which you choose to see.

I showed her my ear, and my scar. She touched them; lightly, gently. All she said was, “Beautiful.” It was a spiritual healing, as much as a reminder to live. To take these scars as gifts, and to walk into the world with the empathy and courage I know they’ve given me. To be the healer, and human, that I’m called (and gifted) to be.

It really was a conversation with the communion of saints; and not only because she invoked them. They were imagined, and they were with us. It was astonishingly easy to meet her in that place.

So there we were, talking about lost wallets and miracle children, mothers and godmothers and grace and the Great Time; creating, apparently, a Celtic “thin place” in a Mexican restaurant on Euclid. We talked about everything, with the exception of class. That never came up, even once.

This morning, I got an e-mail from her saying that I’d passed my oral exam, and she was releasing me from the conditions of my incomplete. Not only that, but she gave me an A for the semester.

It wasn’t an exam; it was a lunch date. One that I’m glad I said yes to—and maybe that’s one of the lessons, to say yes to random gifts (and to keep working on not being afraid of people). But I never expected this; it didn’t cross my mind. And now I have two less papers to write. Alleluia.

The work I had done was good; the grade she gave me was in line with that. So there is an element of academic work here, along with the soul work I’ve been giving myself wholeheartedly to for six weeks—which is really where I’ve needed to be. I take it also as a sign of the universe telling me, "You've done well."

She showed me something I’m still sitting with: celebration as a grateful response. Seeing with blessed eyes, the profusion of gifts that is this life. Walking in gentleness, generosity, and joy. Loving without expectation—and without limit of space and time.


eileen said...

Grace is in the eyes through which you choose to see.

Amen, K.

I needed to be reminded of that today. Thanks.

And God Bless Lunch Dates...I bet more good has come from them then can be imagined!

Kirstin said...

This one, certainly!

Glad to have helped you. :-)

Jane R said...

May the summer continue with such blessings for you, Kirstin.

Godde is gracious.