Grace

Eric_Enstrom_-_Grace_-_bw
"Drives me freaking crazy."

I imagine The Gods conspiring over a few beers on a particularly jocular Gods' Night Out evening, just how to drive mortals most crazy. Some, the more hard-assed traditionalists, argued that nothing beat a decent pestilence, but the younger smart-assed contingent carried that conversation after the third (or was that the fourth?) IPA. The whippersnappers convinced the others that nothing, not war, pestilence, grief, or even rampaging boogiemen hoards could beat a periodic dose of grace, undeserved beneficence. What other gift could be more shockingly humbling? What other experience could so consistently hush a haughty mouth? What other outcome better encourages acceptance of a great mystery, the very soul of The Gods' eternal branding strategy?

And so it came to pass that the least of us totally undeserving would occasionally come to experience genuine grace.
The whippersnappers were absolutely correct to insist that nothing could possibly drive us humans crazier. No cause, just effect. No reason, simply return. No logical way to justify this type of gift, one seemingly so completely unwarranted and clearly undeserved. The simple good grace of an old and dear friend just stopping by to sit on the back stoop to share his presence couldn't carry the circus parade impact of any of the other Acts of God, for it's far too subtle to compete in any other arena. Grace, real and great, sits beside me so quietly that I'm unlikely to even notice its presence until well after the fact, once the principles disburse and become unavailable for subsequent cross examination. What in the Hell just happened there? Better to ask, "What in the Heavens just happened?". Nobody ever knows, which demonstrates the brilliance of those tipsy Gods' inspired strategy.

The First Day of Spring always arrives unbidden, no matter how many heart-felt prayers for deliverance passed heavenward through the suddenly departed Winter months. One more braise, I find myself thinking, one more freaking braise and I might have to smother myself in rendered collagen and goo, inhaling what I could no longer face swallowing, no matter how warming and "good for you" it might once have been. No more! One more roasted parsnip could have put me over that edge, but here comes a Spring supper featuring a wedge salad with The Muse by my side, and the great mystery becomes just a click more mysterious and wonderful. Drives me freaking crazy.

Some days, every freaking thing slips together perfectly, as if choreographed and practiced until every action, every intention simply manifests in perfect synchrony. Drives me crazy! Where did yesterday's nearly desperate frustration evaporate to, leaving no trace? What was that hint of underlying despair all about anyway? Nobody knows anymore, adding to the great mystery, rendering it just that much greater. The only surviving certainty insists that I clearly deserve none of this, for I know myself to be no more powerful today than I knew myself yesterday or the many days before. I never matriculated into any form of mastery and was never recognized for my crucial contribution to the betterment of anybody, yet here I am essentially robed in glistening raiment, wearing some remarkably comfortable crown, apparently king for the freaking day. Drives me nuts!

My daily bread sometimes appears to have been perfectly baked. Not simply correctly rendered, but unusually so. Crust crisp. Chewy center. It fights back a little as I tear off the end of the loaf, releasing faint hints of yeast and Earth and life. I can't help but smile all-knowingly, understanding then the meaning of the term Staff Of Life, experiencing grace again. Nick The Hardware Guy notices me wandering around the back reaches of The Ranch Supply and points out that he's finally stocked those thin plastic paint cup liners I came looking for late last week. "See," he reports, "I did order them like I said I would, Dave, though I suppose you don't need them anymore."

I nod and smile to acknowledge the bushwhacking grace. "So I do make a difference in this world after all?"

"You bet you do," Nick smiled and The Gods, perhaps gathered around a pitcher filled with one of those citrusy IPAs, smiled down upon me, too. Drives me freaking crazy.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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