I used to think of grace as a garden with stern fences, the manicured grounds that awaits anyone who believes a certain story about the world, the fuzzy-pink estates where the sun yawns awake to the theme songs of flatulent joy. A place of no shadows. The inside of things. I would stand on the outside, looking through the cracks, willing myself to accept the givens of a distant creed, the polished shelf-stained identities that didn’t fit. Anything to be accepted into the heart of life. Eventually, I got in, only to see that there was no inside, and that the wilds I sought to evade on the ‘outside’ still lurked within my breast.
Now I see differently.
Grace is not the exclusive heritage of a chosen few; she is larger than that. I think grace is our outrageous kinship, an immaculate promiscuity, our magnificent affinity with everything else. There is no outside or inside. The universe is tragically, and perhaps graciously more subtle, more orgasmic, more giving than our protocoled requirements of unwavering belief, unquestioning faith, and doctrinal compliance supposedly grant us access to. We need not confine ourselves to rubbery islands of exhausted light – our boundaries constantly guarded for creeping shadows and virulent strands of meaning. The shadows are already in – giving us form. We on the ‘inside’ are unwitting collaborators with the ‘outside’. Grace never sits still. Grace pierces through. I see that now, grateful for my journeys – watching as the daylight breaks into shards of dark glory, watching as my life-force sleeps and my daughter sighs in her dreams.
I see that to fall from a state of grace is to arrive at its source. To ‘sin’ is to dance to the music of our own heart-strings, the echoes of which reverberate in, through and from everything else. To fail is to explode into pollen possibilities of potent grain – ready to fertilize new ways of becoming. To be stupid is to be wise in ways that wisdom itself cannot contemplate. To lose is to acquire the panoramic transcendence denied winners, a bird’s eye view on the illusion that is winning and losing. And to be lost is to be found anew.