Selected bits about grace from Webster:
-unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration
-ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
-the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful
*Nearly every medical staff person walking through her door with clear intention to have a healing encounter, and perhaps even more profound, with receptiveness to meet my mom where she is and accept the intention of her overtures. Highly-trained medical staff exercising physical and emotional gentleness and attentiveness to Mom's needs moment-to-moment. Consulting Mom on whether she is ready to go for a walk or to be examined or to be stuck with another sharp object- and deferring to her when possible.
*And then there was the veterinarian: putting Deb at ease by telling her about her current 'dance' with her own elderly and ill cat, providing a special blanket for Deb in which to hold Ella in comfort on her lap, and then sitting on the floor in front of Deb and Ella, so that their last moments together might be just like their best moments at home.
I believe I was witnessing, and hearing from Deb about, grace. Images of washing another's feet come to mind. The experience or gift of grace seems to grow from the fertile ground of practicing basic human kindness and service. Or, maybe: 'Grace behaviors' beget 'grace, the gift.' Or, perhaps: To act with grace is to create the experience of grace for the other and self. My friend, Rev. Bill Calhoun, speaks of the "grace margins" that exist in the paper-thin space between our separate selves––the potent place where need, pain, suffering, love, care, and healing meet when one party makes a "grace move" toward another. In the major spiritual traditions, humans are asked to intentionally make themselves evermore in tune with, and in service to, the other.
I don't remember having a conversation with Charles about grace. In his avowed atheism, Charles would not have believed in "the unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration." However, he believed deeply, based on the best of literature, philosophy, art, science, nature, and experience that people could create––and absolutely should create––the space and consciousness for the kind of love and healing that I have been witnessing. He practiced it and I know he would be gratified––and not surprised–– by how it is playing out in lives of people he loved.