Thoughts About Grace
July 25, 2010
I’ve been reading a book called I’m Proud of You. It’s by Tim Madigan, a journalist who became friends with Mister Rogers. I saw it here and decided to check it out from the library.
It’s been a lovely read. Such a sweet, kind man who was oh-so-intentional about giving grace to his friends and all around him.
I’ve been thinking about grace a lot due to this book and to a Pixar short film I just bought on iTunes for my children to watch. Remember Partly Cloudy? It was that one where there are all the clouds who create babies, and give them to stork helpers to go deliver them to delighted mothers. It’s cute and the animation is interesting.
Remember how there is the stork that is seemingly “assigned” to the cloud who makes cute but ferocious animal babies? It seems evident that this bird – Peck – is genuinely fond of Gus. (I just looked up their names on Wikipedia.) But Peck is getting a little frazzled and wary of the pain-filled bundles of joy he has to deliver. When he leaves Gus to go to another cloud, Gus is miserable and angry and feels rejected, but Peck has just asked to have some protective gear made for him so he can continue serving and working with Gus.
That is grace.
This principal of extending grace to people is one I struggle with. Even my beloved friends and family occasionally create something difficult or uncomfortable for me to bear. And there are some friendships that constantly seem to require my being uncomfortable. But instead of fleeing, instead of bolting, I want to stay present. I may need to arm myself, if necessary, to withstand the pain that they create. But I still want to cultivate the discipline to hang in there. After all, things are not all about me.
Why can I not get that simple thought through my head?
The book about Mister Rogers is about his unwavering friendship to a man. His unconditional love and acceptance of that man. And how that grace and lack of judgment pulled the man out of the pit of depression and angst. Mister Rogers gave the quiet, sincere support of a good friend who promised to “be proud” of the man. In the presence of that grace, the man changed and his life was redeemed from the pit.
Mister Rogers and Peck the Pixar bird. An unlikely pair, but a pair that is making me think of grace.