The breathing fence stands basic and simple across our path. So we must jump it to walk on. No big deal. Except that in sailing over, signals fire confused, the mind unsure how to navigate, and I land tumbled. No big deal. Except that a horrible crunching pop murmurs from ankle which bore full impact of my falling body.
Immediate stiffness, numbing pain, and the mortifying embarrassment of the reality I now limp in: I just sprained my ankle. But it’s no big deal. I can still walk . . . hobble. I lean on his arm, and we shift home. My mind starts spinning . . . all the clients scheduled for the next days, and how I’ve nowhere to rebook them, and how I can’t run in the mornings now, and how awkward this oozing bulge feels.
And a new lens slides into place ahead of my eyes, and all the world looks different through this awkward healing. I awake to thoughts yet un-contemplated, and gifts yet unrealized . . . . the little big deals.
I watch graceful pedestrians stride across intersection! I didn’t think there was glory in walking un-gimped, until I lilted. How amazing the coordination of a skateboarder, swinging leg wild as he propels headlong down the sidewalk. Does he know the glory he’s breathing?
How fabulous the body’s capacity to heal! And what wonder to think I will be made well again. I drive past old men hobbling behind walkers. What humiliation to age and sink decrepit from prowess and physical usefulness. And I think . . . we must be so much more than just a body, because giving does not stop when the body stops, and living does not cease when a part loses function.
And how do we grapple with life when we fall, and bodies fall apart, and our world crumbles into helpless bits before our eyes? What of these little deals that loom impossibly large? And the big deals we lose in periphery when we focus on stuff that doesn’t really matter?
I see the middle-aged homeless man taking swinging, syncopated steps. How long has he limped so severe? What does he hope for life now? What will he make with what he has been given?
And me? What have I been given? Grace. The hand to hold me, the shoulder to cry safe on, the shared tools for healing, the extra assistance and labours of love . . . for me! And who am I to receive this? I could not earn these mercies, could not deserve this tenderness in light of my foolishness.
Grace cannot be earned. The greatest gift, and deepest mystery. That I, who don’t deserve, HAVE been graced with this life, this pain, this poignancy to feel and see and love and live deeper. And it is a gift.
And I open hand and say Thank You. And I too, even I, can give this grace gift back to the Giver, and spill it out on an aching world, even in the simple gift of laughing at myself.
Because Grace brings it all into perspective. And grace IS the big deal.