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Surprised by Grace

Posted by Stephen Copeland on 9/1/20 7:00 AM

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on UnsplashTo be surprised by grace, as seasons blur together, as monotony defines our days, as boredom tests our worth, is to open our hearts to the beauty gifted to us, divinely designed to be seen and savored, experienced and enjoyed, residing in little moments we usually allow to pass without acknowledgment, auto-pilot of the soul.

Each time the mind plays its tricks, or the news weighs heavy, or the shouting takes its toll, still there is subtlety, right around the corner, freely given to us by the Maker of Moments, where we might become absorbed, invited into wonder, baptized by beauty, stirred by simplicity, awed by spiritual significance in everyday collisions.

The mystic is less the one who gasps upon a precipice, falling to his knees in worship at the splendor of the valley, and more the one who savors every bite of a bowl of Fruit Loops. He eats, not to be filled, for soon, by afternoon, the energy he gained will be expended anyway, but rather because he has humbly received and finds within each gift its great expansiveness.

The way the dawn paints shadows on an emerald soybean field invites you into the mystery of the day, where, no matter where you go, no matter what you do, celestial scenes surround, beckoning you to pause and be still, even if only for a breath or two. The smell of fresh-cut grass takes you back in time, perhaps to youth soccer on Saturdays when Papaw was alive, cheering you on from the sidelines, ready to wrap his arms around you after the game, like you’re the only thing that ever mattered. This is Christ reflected back to you, before you knew anything about shame, before you knew the pain of goodbye.

Your beagle’s excitement as you pull out her leash, as she jumps and spins and pants uncontrolled, just to go on the same walk as the day before reminds you that life is not hard to enjoy; that happiness, in fact, is obtainable, here and now, if you dare receive the gift. The kiss from your spouse when she returns home from work is more than formality, more than empty tradition, more than something to passively endure so you can return to your email—it is a celebration of connection, two stories somehow intersected, two souls intertwined, woven together by the Basket Maker, where you now place your offerings for a world in pain, surrendered down the river to be found.

I rise before the sun this morning to the smell of coffee in the kitchen. Another day in Eden awaits.


Stephen Copeland

Topics: Grace