THE POWER OF GRACE
I am not gonna lie, ladies. The post inauguration weeks have been hard. My husband and I are stunned into painful silence as we watch the sharp slap of insults being slung on social media. People we love saying hurtful things in vain attempts to get their point across. Raise your hand if you too have contemplated deleting your Facebook account.
So many of us hurting. Raw. Open. Scared.
So many of us elated. Happy. Laughing. Relieved.
It sure feels like we the people are divided and don't intend to come together unless somebody gives in and nobody wants to be the somebody that gives in.
We are standing on opposite sides — a gulf of disbelief stands between co-workers, friends and family members. And questions loom big and overwhelming: How do we fix it? Where do we go from here? How do we peel off the cloak of judgmental righteousness? How do we uncover the ugly to remember the grace? How do we state our beliefs and know we won’t be crucified for thinking differently? How do we push aside our hurt, push past the need to be right, to start the process of together? Friends, family we have to find the pause. We have to find the grace.
I was on a rampage the other day until my daughter walked in the room confused. Her entrance caused me to find the pause button. When I paused I remembered: we have to get on the same page. Together. ToGetHer. We, as women, can fix this. Yes, we must come together because our daughters are watching. If something needs healing, women must step up because deep down inside, we all “get” each other. Even when we don’t want to admit it, women “get” women. And our daughters are watching. They “get it,” too.
Women will heal the nation. We know this work of healing — our daughters will learn this work.
It starts with the swallowing of ego because the world is bigger than us, our daughters mean more to us than our pride. If we can teach her how to stand tall, state her beliefs, and still show grace for others who think differently, we must model this ourselves.
But where do we start?
We start within ourselves. We ask ourselves, “What do I want others to understand about my choices?” And, “How do I convey this want, laced with grace, fought for with grit?” As Harriet Lerner states, “We must listen with the same passion that you have about wanting to be heard.” Ladies- this is the hardest. But it is the most vital. We must, MUST listen and listen deeply. Work hard to understand.
Only then can we speak. And when we do speak, it will not be with long diatribes on Facebook. We do not convey our hearts with bold font peppered with sarcasm. Sarcasm can make others close up like clams, never to reopen with you. We do not convey our feelings with shameful memes that make others feel as though their choices are weak or stupid.
We have a responsibility to teach our daughters and sons better.
Sometimes we nurture healing into the world without even saying words. We smile healing into the world when we share an earnest grin with a stranger. We coax healing into the world by letting someone else go first in line, we love healing into the world by complementing good work, we grace healing into the world by practicing calmness instead of letting hate come from our lips. Hate never heals. We can stand up for ourselves without the weapon of shame. We use grace. We say “This hurts.” Then, we step back and away. No shame, no gossip, no yelling.
To shame another is like pushing a knife into someone. You won’t know the damage of the wound until you step back. And sisters, the wounds you can make are deep if you push into her enough. It isn’t our job to point out the flaw in another woman’s argument, for that’s an invitation for her to point out the flaws in ours. If you disagree with someone, it isn’t your place to debate her logic, for she can and will debate ours and where does that get us? Standing in the jagged divide of women as we let it grow it grow wider and wider. If we are not careful, our daughters will fall in.
Shaming will not heal our nation. Shaming has never turned a heart. Shaming belittles the user. Shame is a weapon of the broken. Weapons keep others away, shame takes from the user and does not give back. What we need are tools. What our daughters need, are tools. Tools of healing. With that desperate need in mind, I have started saying this prayer:
Dear God, give me the tool of Grace. Grace is the tool of the strong. It fixes the broken. Please give me the grace to take the risk to remain calm as we have hard, honest, yet gentle conversations. Grace is for the brave hearted — it’s what helps us remember another woman is just as worthy as you. Even in disagreement, help me remember that our opponent is loved, just as I am loved. Help me dare to have grace. Dare to heal the divide. Otherwise, our daughters and sons will see us held hostage by anger. Help me dare to remember grace in my community and remember the women who have carpooled, cooked, raised our children together. Help me dare to be the olive branch to get through this time ToGetHer.
Do you dare?