When I first created this blog, I thought long and hard about what to call it. A good name is important. It needs to be catchy and memorable, but for me, at least, it was also important for it to say something about me, about who I am and what I’m trying to do in this blog. Eventually I thought about the old nursery rhyme –
Monday’s child is fair of face/ Tuesday’s child is full of grace/ Wednesday’s child is full of woe/ Thursday’s child has far to go/ Friday’s child works hard for a living/ Saturday’s child is loving and giving/ But the child who is born on the Sabbath day/ Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.
Tuesday’s child has always resonated the most with me, because more than anything, I want my life to be full of grace. Of course it’s important to me to have a gracious home (although chaos is probably a more apt description most days), but it goes beyond that. What I’m constantly searching for is grace in the way I conduct myself, grace in the way I look at the world, grace in the way I treat others, grace in the way I see.
As a Christian, grace has a far more profound meaning to me. As I’ve gotten to know Jesus, my life has been filled with a kind of grace that I never imagined. “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John 1:16. There have been some tough times in my life, times full of tears, doubt, anger and fear. And yet those are the times when I’ve really learned what God’s grace is all about. Somehow, when I’ve had no other choice but to rely on Him, I’ve come out of those times with my faith stronger and more alive than ever. Having been touched by that grace, I want it to permeate my life in every way.
Graciousness is an old value that isn’t appreciated as much as I think it ought to be. After my grandma died many years ago, I remember someone saying at her funeral that she was a real lady. That comment stuck with me, because it was true. Nana epitomized graciousness in her life. Her life wasn’t easy – she went through a lot of hard times in her too-short life – but by the grace of God she came through them a victor. She was genuinely kind to those around her. As a child her house was the happiest place I could imagine going. The meals were the best I’ve ever eaten. There were shelves full of carefully selected treasures waiting to be explored. There was a big box of dress-up clothes in the basement, a pond for swimming and boating, and a hammock for reading books on warm summer afternoons. Mostly, though, I loved going there because she loved us so much. She has always been my role model.
What does it mean to live a gracious life? I have a picture in my head of a plantation-style house set somewhere in rolling green hills, with huge ferns hanging from the wrap-around porch and a pitcher of iced tea sweating on a table next to a row of rocking chairs. In this picture in my head, you would open the french doors, and enter a house filled with a mixture of good antiques and comfortable, family-friendly furniture. There would be a few original landscapes on the walls, and an old dog curled up in a corner. The master bathroom would be full of good quality cosmetics, and the closet full of classic, elegant clothes. The house would be full of the sound of children’s laughter, and the smell of home cooking.
Unfortunately the picture in my head doesn’t match all that well with the reality of my day to day life. Reality is a house where the dirty dishes pile up by the sink until they (usually) get washed sometime before bedtime. It’s a house where the laundry is a never-ending chore, and while it all gets washed, dried, and (sort of) folded, it’s a rare week when the clean laundry is all put away before it’s time for the next wash day. Reality is spaghetti for supper – again – because I’m working late, or too tired to cook a good dinner. It’s running around like crazy, trying to get everyone to soccer, or campouts, or church, or work. It’s throwing on whatever is clean instead of putting together a casually chic outfit.
Graciousness in the midst of everyday life is more of a frame of mind than an outward manifestation. Grace is remembering to laugh every single day, to hug your children tight and let you know that you love them, even if they forgot to shower that day and look like they just came out of an orphanage. Grace is lighting a candle in the evening and taking a few minutes to snuggle with the one you love. It’s spending time every day drinking in the Word and talking to the Creator, even if its in the car on the way to work. Grace is finding the calm in the midst of the storm. Tuesday’s child is full of grace.