There, but for the Grace of God, go I

There, but for theEnjoy the view from here. Leave what's around the bend for later. Grace of God, go I…

…I like this phrase. It rolls off the tongue and has a poetic rhythm to it that sounds nice to the ear.

I found myself using it the other day in the grocery store. And while I use it to note a situation I am happy I am NOT in, I realized it is NOT God’s grace that keeps me from being in the other person’s shoes.

It’s not that I won’t use the phrase (accuracy does not trump poetic word choice), but  I believe God’s grace is available to all of us in equal measure.

Someone’s bad situation is not because they don’t have grace available to them or someone got less than their share. The folks experiencing bone aching poverty or hungry children don’t get less grace.

Nor am I so great that I get more than someone else.

It’s some other cocktail of choices, awareness and maybe just luck. It’s like that lovely drink I had poolside last week, I don’t know exactly what was in it. However I ended up in my own tough situations and not that other guy’s is not something I have a precise recipe for, I just know it’s good.

I don’t get grace from God to escape those fates. I do get:

Compassion- There are times when I meet a person’s circumstances and realize how easy it could be me. How we are all in this boat together and when one person’s oars fall off, the rest of us need to help, support, and maybe row a little harder to help them out until they can get their groove back. The mama on the plane trying to reach into the overhead for a baby bottle while managing to not drop the baby all while trying to ignore the  dirty looks from those traveling without a wriggling howling infant. I’m a mama who frequently wishes we sprouted a third hand. The guy a bit short to pay for his groceries at checkout. Let me help you out.

Gratitude- I can complain. Every single day, I could compose an extensive list of what is not going my way, how I have been wronged, and how everyone else could/should behave in order to make my life better. But there are occasions where I come face to face with what could have been and realize how thankful I am. The perfect job I didn’t get, the perfect guy I didn’t marry, the perfect house I didn’t buy… and somehow I am granted a brief glimpse of exactly why perfect wasn’t so perfect and in rushes gratitude. Thank GOD I didn’t get that job, that guy or that house… It is a double gift: I was saved from that fate AND God let me see the blessing of it correcting my myopic view that only included regret.

Wisdom- Back to the grocery store the other day. I saw someone who I would be if I had not made some recent changes in my life. They were hard changes and ones I struggled to make and stick with, but when I saw this person I realized if I were to go back to that other path right now- I would become someone I do not want to be. I would live a life that I would regret. I would be missing out on so much of this life (you know, the one I can complain about extensively). I have also had this happen proactively. I see a life I am headed for and take corrective action to wind my way down the road (of life) for a different (better) destination.

So, it’s not grace that keeps me from the circumstances of these other folks. But there is grace in the compassion to help others. Grace in the gratitude for my own circumstances and grace in the wisdom to make good choices.

So, here, with grace, go I…