Letting Go and Making Space for Grace
April 17, 2020
“’My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Cor. 12:9 NRSV
The most common word I have heard used to describe these times is “unprecedented”. No wonder we all find ourselves on a steep learning curve right now! We are learning how to move in-person meetings to virtual spaces. Learning how to re-prioritize. Learning how to parent differently. Learning how to get groceries safely. We are also learning more about our society and who suffers most in the face of a global pandemic. Many of us are learning how to be better neighbors. How we can give and what we can live without so that others can simply live. Hopefully, we are learning more deeply what matters most to us and how to not take it all for granted.
All of this requires a shift, which is letting go…
….of what we thought we were holding together
….of the way things “should” be
….of our notions of individualism
….of our ideas of success
….of how we define “essential”
I have found that points of letting go (and I mean, really letting go) of certain desired outcomes and my own need to control things to get there is when I feel and see grace working in my life. It’s almost as if Spirit is waiting for us to make space for grace.
As we know, those who benefit least from systems are the ones who suffer most in crisis. This includes our families. Some of our families are experiencing very difficult realities right now, and we are grateful that they are part of Bridge of Hope and have a safety net in uncertain times. While our families have agency, resilience, and are goal-oriented, no one can control life during a pandemic. However, we can all continue to show up and lean in (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Certainly, we are witnessing more trust developing between families and neighboring volunteers. Neighboring Volunteers are stepping into relationship with families more deeply, and no doubt being transformed by the process. Our staff and board are finding new and creative ideas emerging to continue to carry out our mission to end family homelessness. We are trusting in a God whose power is made perfect in our inability to do things with a “should” mindset. I believe this is allowing us to follow our hearts more closely, and to find that Spirit is waiting to offer new gifts in the spaces we wouldn’t have dared go before. Grace.
All of this reminds me of a poem by Joyce Rupp
Old Maps No Longer Work
I keep pulling it out –
the old map of my inner path
I squint closely at it,
trying to see some hidden road
that maybe I’ve missed,
but there’s nothing there now
except some well-travelled paths.
they have seen my footsteps often,
held my laughter, caught my tears.
I keep going over the old map
but now the roads lead nowhere,
a meaningless wilderness
where life is dull and futile.
“toss away the old map,” she says
“you must be kidding!” I reply.
she looks at me with Sarah eyes
and repeats “toss it away.
It’s of no use where you’re going.”
“I have to have a map!” I cry,
“even if it takes me nowhere.
I can’t be without direction,”
“but you are without direction,”
she says, “so why not let go, be free?”
so there I am – tossing away the old map,
sadly fearfully, putting it behind me.
“whatever will I do?” wails my security
“trust me” says my midlife soul.
no map, no specific directions,
no “this way ahead” or “take a left.”
how will l know where to go?
how will I find my way? no map!
but then my midlife soul whispers
“there was a time before maps
when pilgrims travelled by the stars.”
It is time for the pilgrim in me
to travel in the dark,
to learn to read the stars
that shine in my soul.
I will walk deeper
into the dark of my night.
I will wait for the stars,
trust their guidance,
and let their light be enough for me.
Where are you finding space for grace?