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.
What is grace? A definition that I like is “God's undeserved favor.” Grace comes to me when I least expect it, and usually when I need it. I do not need to ask for grace, and I will not receive it because I asked. As Anne Lamotte says, it comes to me where I am. It comes to me when I need it, whether I realize that or not. It comes to me because God loves me. I received grace early in my program when I had a day of serenity. I hadn't done anything different that day from many other days. I hadn't asked for serenity any differently that day. I wasn't expecting serenity that day. I wasn't especially virtuous or working my program especially well that day. God granted me the grace of serenity, and I was grateful to recognize that gift. I receive grace when a friend calls, needing to talk about a problem in her life, and I find in her problem an awareness and insight into a problem in my life. Grace has come to me as an overwhelming feeling of love, and as a moment of quietude in a hectic day.
Anne says that “grace … does not leave us where it found us.” That day of serenity, in the midst of a life of chaos and unmanageability, changed me. I recognized that the promise in our preamble, that we can find “serenity and even happiness”, was coming true for me. I came to believe that my Higher Power was restoring me to sanity. Later, when I was in despair and fear, I could remember that day and know that “this, too, shall pass”. A friend and onetime sponsor said to me, “prayer doesn't change God, prayer changes me.” I no longer pray for outcomes, for God to change his plan for me. I pray to understand God's will for me, that I may follow a path to a happier, serene, and fulfilling life. Grace, whether from God or a fellow human, moves me along that path.
A meditation for July 3, 2013.