Saturday, June 12, 2010
I read a book some time back in the 1980's by M. Scott Peck, M.D. called The Road Less Traveled. In the section on grace, Dr. Peck describes a number of characteristics that can be attributed to the phenomenon of grace, but admits that ". . . we cannot touch this force. We have no decent way to measure it. Yet it exists. It is real." In the end he defines grace simply as "a powerful force originating outside of human consciousness which nurtures the spiritual growth of human beings."
One of the ideas from this book that always stuck with me is that we witness grace in children being generally more evolved than their parents (this was my take so I'm paraphrasing). Our world has always changed rapidly, sometimes even explosively, and the chaos that ensues often doesn't look like positive evolution. But I believe that it is, as people create the ongoing opportunity to learn about love, of themselves, each other, and the world.
We do indeed live in a state of amazing grace. In the district where my husband works, there is a high percentage of families who are lacking resources, and struggling. A large number of those kids have dealt with poverty, drug abuse, and other things. As I watched them celebrating their transition into adulthood today, excited to be setting out on their journeys to make the best possible lives for themselves, I knew that they would, and already were, rising above the limits on who they could be.
When I first read Dr. Peck's book, his ideas were exciting but also a bit scary for me. Now, some of them reflect the basic truth in my heart, so much a part of me that I don't often even consider them anymore. Peck asks, "Why does God want us to grow spiritually? What are we growing toward? Where is the end point, the goal of evolution? What is it that God wants of us?" His answer is that "God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward Godhood. . . It is God who is the source of this evolutionary force and God who is the destination."
Grace is not in receiving the unexpected, or the undeserved. Each member of every graduating class of 2010, and all of us, were deserving of grace the moment we took our first breath, expressing God within us as children of this Earth. Grace is the truth that we are God, regardless of our story or circumstances, or how much we, or the people around us, forget. It is the truth that as we create and live out our stories, God is expressing herself; our very existence is amazing grace.
Let us celebrate that!
May this tool be a blessing. . .