We had just finished out 2018 on New Year’s Eve with the Burning Bowl Service at Unity North (where I work) during which we release any burdens from the previous year (or lifetime). At the Burning Bowl service we take a few minutes to write down what hasn’t served us well, and, quite literally, set the paper on fire releasing the negativity from our lives. It’s very, very powerful.
On the first Sunday of the year, we begin with the White Stone Ceremony. We are asked to walk through a gate, mindfully take a white stone, hold it close, and meditate on tearing down the walls that hold us from our good. We are then asked to choose a word, a “name”, for the coming year and to write it on that stone. Who is it that God is guiding us to be? It is a service that is well loved by many and a very moving way to begin the New Year.
The word I chose was “Grace”.
When I was young, and would inevitably trip over my own feet, my Mother would often say to me, “I should have named you Grace. Now, get up, brush yourself off and let’s get moving. Just watch where you’re going this time.”
There are many definitions of the word grace but the one I most resonate with is “ease and suppleness of movement or bearing” (Merriam-Webster). Another is this paragraph from Eric Butterworth’s essay “Concerning Grace”:
“Grace is simply a wonderful facet of the activity of God in you. It is not something you must work for or develop. It simply is. It is an assurance, an explanation of why things are never quite hopeless, and why we never receive the full harvest of the error we sow, and why we always receive a little more good than we earn.”
I think my Mother, in her infinite wisdom, understood this. She knew that the stumbling I did was part of my growth and that Grace was the reminder that I can always get up and keep moving forward. Gently and with….grace. At any moment I can tap into this energy and focus on the good that it represents. I can move forward towards my highest potential by simply getting up, brushing myself off, and watching where I’m going.
My Mother’s grace, God’s grace. I think they are one and the same, yes?
From my heart to yours, Diane