1) Living by the sea we get a lot of gulls. I know loads of people dislike them, see them as a menace or whatever. But I see their grace. My sitting room is on the upper floor of our home and the window looks out onto a flat roof (the roof above my head is a flat one too), I see the gulls flight at eye level and at just above my head level everyday. I watch them come into land and take off again. Their wingspan is an amazing breadth of pearly white.
I sit in bed and watch the stark white of their feathers flash across a leaden grey sky as they wheel and circle looking for bread that has been put out.
In their element their grace of flight and movement can take your breath away. They stretch out their wings with such ease, they bank and turn and glide away with the same grace of a solitary swan floating across still water.
I love to live by the sea, I have all my life, I am happy to share my space with the gulls and it makes me sad to hear them lambasted for being what they are in a territory that we have encroached. Perhaps we all need to take the time to watch them and marvel at their effortless grace.
2) To give way with good grace. The ability to to back down or lose without getting narky. This is an element of grace that needs to be learnt and practiced and it is not always easy to do. It is easy to do if it is done in an apathetic way - as in can't be asked to push the point. It is harder to do out of generosity of spirit, but that is what it truly means. To give up a point or game because you care enough for the other person that you don't want to push it and have it end badly or look diminished in their sight. As a parent I have tried my best to teach the principle of this to J but I know that only life will allow him to practice it, understand its importance and hopefully perfect it. If he does then he will be a far better person than me. I'm still at the practicing stage.
3) The saying of grace. To give thanks to God for what you have or are about to receive. We have never said grace in my family ever, even as a child I have no recollection of saying grace at home, we did occasionally at some social things we attended but I don't remember being asked to say it anywhere else either at friends houses or visiting more distant family. Now I am an Atheist and have no believe in God so I have no reason to say grace but that does not mean that I am not thankful for what I have or what I may receive.
4) There but for the grace of God go I. Another tricky one for a non-believer. I may not believe but I do understand the meaning of this. The relief and thankfulness you feel that in different circumstances the suffering of others could be yours. It can, some days, almost feel like a litany with the amount of horror and bad news that is reported. The growth of TV shows that are the modern equivalent of the Victorian freak shows add to this, they magnify the suffering of others so we can sit at home and count our blessings and give thanks it isn't us, it makes us feel better about our lives.
I think this saying should be more about reminding us to think of others less fortunate and to find a way to help and improve their lives. Sadly, I think we are progressing backwards and this is now thought of and said in the same way people cross themselves without realising they are doing it or touching wood. It has become just a saying and no longer an act of grace or the prefix to prayer.
I'm sure there are other elements of grace but these are the ones that came to mind this morning. The other Wednesday Madhouse bloggers I'm sure will make interesting reading.