Tag Archives: Flannery O’Connor

Grace Under Fire

“Grace Under Fire”

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.”

~Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

 The Foda’s Take: Oh, we want it, alright. Everyone wants to be the person who rises above adversity admirably. But in typical form, grace is not easily won or obtained. Tricky little wench.

 Hi, folks. Today I’m feeling very existential. You know, pondering what does it all mean while lounging about in my silk robe and velvet smoking slippers, a monocle dripping from my fingers. And I have decided something. I believe that the antithesis to achieving grace and positivity invariably comes down to two common rascals: doubt and frustration. Shall I go on? Here’s my thesis.

The trouble with hope is it doesn’t come with an expiration date. Hope + time = doubt.

The trouble with faith is timely proof. Faith + no proof =  doubt and frustration.

The trouble with control is not having it. Control + lack thereof = frustration… and doubt.

But the trouble with doubt and frustration is that if they’re not countered by hope, faith, and relinquishment of control, they will take over, until nothing is left but darkness. And no one wants to live in the dark. Unless you’re a vampire. But I’m not certain how large my vampire audience is for this blog, so I’m going to assume we’re all daylighters here….

Now why am I going so deeply into this, you ask? Because I don’t have an ending to my story yet. At least, not one I’m willing to accept. I’m still waiting in the wings, listening carefully for my name to be called so that I can step into the lime light (and out of the lyme light.) It might be easier for me to wallow in frustration and doubt until my time comes, because all that requires is living in another moment- which is pretty easy to do. What’s hard is living in our current moment. What’s hard is finding hope and inspiration in turmoil. What’s hard is choosing grace under fire. Because grace is not easily won. It’s hard and, as Flannery O’Connor said, it requires the beholder to go through great pain and suffering in order to achieve it. We all want to live with grace, we just don’t want to go through the horrible trials we’ll need to endure to get it. Unless, well, you’re a masochist… in which case, I have several pairs of high heels in my closet for you.

I work every day to live through my trial with grace. I don’t always succeed. It’s not always easy to feel hopeful and confident that my happy ending is coming when I’ve been sick for so long. But anyone who stands up and tells you they’re one hundred percent “glass half full” is lying. (That’s right, sir- calling you out.) Faith and hope take work. They take daily dedication. But I have a dream, you see…. I’d like to believe that when all this is past me and I’m able to rejoin the human race as a healthy, vibrant woman, I will have achieved so much wisdom and grace under fire, that it will shape not only my life, but inspire the lives of others as well. I want people to come up to me and say: “It takes a lot of grace to do what you did!” And I’ll shrug humbly, wave my hand dismissively, and say: “Psshhh, Grace is my middle name.” Which… in point of fact, it is… so there’s that… pretty sure that doesn’t count, though…..

So today, I rededicate my commitment to finding and living with grace. (Besides, well, in my monogram….) Which, come to think of it, means I’m going to have to learn how to better define it so that I will know it when I see it. Hmm. What do you think? As I close, I’d like to ask you, dear reader- how to you define grace?

Gracefully yours,

The Foda