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In case you were worried that I had forgotten about the Nature of Success, I haven’t.  I’ve been ill, and sleeping 20 hours a day, so posting here kinda dropped off my radar for a few days.  I’m feeling much much better now, thankfully, so I want to talk about the concept of Grace.

If you just search for a definition of the word, you get back “simple elegance or refinement of movement” as well as “(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” and finally “to do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.”  Wikipedia has an entire article on the Christian concept of Grace; the first line is “In Western Christian theology, grace has been defined, not as a created substance of any kind, but as ‘the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.'”

I’m not really Christian, for all I was raised Catholic.  I’m not sure if Grace is given by God, or by Gods, or by the Universe, or maybe it’s just another term for dumb luck.  It is the beautiful things in life that happen to us, not because we earned them, but just … because.  It is being struck by the random beauty of the world, or by the goodness of people.  It’s the red shoes given to me as a gift, out of the blue, by some friends.  It’s waking up to my cat purring next to me.  It’s sunrise through the canyons of my city.  It is the really awe-inspiring moments that we have done nothing to earn; we may or may not deserve them, maybe we were just lucky.

These moments are important to me, not just because they are beautiful.  They are the moments in my life that I look at and find it difficult to believe the Universe is anything other than benevolent.  It is these moments that feel most real and honest to me.  I see the sunlight just peeking over the horizon, straight through the buildings to my eyes, and I feel like someone has offered me a hand up, before I had even realized I’d fallen.  The warmth of the sun on my face, the smell of early morning; I close my eyes and see the light through my eyelids, and for just a moment, all is right with the world.  In that moment, I see what the world can become, and I believe that my actions can help it get there, and I am filled with hope.

For me, Grace is integral to success, because it is the thing that reminds me what I’m working towards.  It gives me hope, and direction.  I will not be successful without Grace; any true success will support an increase of Grace.  Not for me, necessarily, but a net gain in the world.  I have been literally gifted with Grace by my friends; those red shoes I mentioned?  I went to dinner at some of my friends’ house, and was given a pair of beautiful red shoes.  Three friends had gotten together and bought them for me, because they thought that I would like them.  I love them, and I wear them often, they’re comfortable and lovely and having them on reminds me that there are people in the world who love me and think of me.  Those shoes are a constant “just because” hug, a reminder that whether I feel like I deserve it or not, someone thinks I’m worth caring about.

One of the measures of my success will be if the people my work touches can offer such gifts to their loved ones.  Maybe it’ll be a purchased gift, maybe I will teach someone to spin and they’ll make a scarf as a gift, or maybe we will have a conversation and they will realize someone in their life could use a physical reminder of their love.  Maybe you’ll read this, and take more notice of Grace in your own life.

Cataract Trail, April 2015
Cataract Trail, April 2015