Playing With Grace


I suspect that a lot of our play and recreation is about pursuing the experience of grace in one form or another?

We experience it from time to time in our movement when it becomes flowing, rhythmic, powerful. The dictionary refers to it as ” elegance of beauty or form, manner, motion or action. Our swing on the golf course, our cadence on the bike, our feel for the snow and the mountain on our skis become for an instant a kind of sacramental experience of that elegance and flow.

Sometimes it is revealed  not in motion or movement but in character.  We express a different definition of the word: the exercise of love, kindness, compassion, mercy, favor; a disposition to benefit or serve another like in the story of Sara Tucholsky, Liz Wallace and Mallory Holtman.

Then there are the times when Grace is something more. Grace is the totally unearned gift that transforms us and the moment into something much bigger. This is Grace the way the theologian defines it: an unmerited, divine assistance given humans for their regeneration and sanctification. It’s the 1980 Olympic hockey team or the Women’ World Cup soccer team, but it’s also the hole in one, or the perfect game at the local bowling alley. Playgrounds become holy ground for a moment an our imagination and our hearts get a little bit bigger.

It’s one of the reasons we love to move and play, those little tastes of being alive. Annie Lamott says it so well in her book Traveling Mercies: ” I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

Keep moving and keep playing. You never know when it’s going to show up.

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