A Shortage of Grace

A Shortage of Grace

by Rebecca Buell | Sep 23, 2020

Grace (noun)

  1. Simple elegance or refinement of movement
  2. Courteous goodwill
  3. (in Christian belief) The free and unmerited favor of God
  4. A period officially allowed for payment of a sum due or for compliance with a law or condition, especially an extended period granted as a special

In a virtual coffee conversation with coworkers the other day, the topic came up of how short people are getting with one another. Well-meaning, well-intended, big-hearted and great-natured individuals seem to be nonexempt. Six full months into Pandemic 2020, my teammate observed, at grocery stores, on highways, in workplaces, in families, and even in houses of faith, there seems to be a pervasive “shortage of grace.”

Those words have resonated with me for the past two days. I entered the pandemic determined to create a safe and supportive environment for my team. I did yoga every morning between 4:00 and 5:30 a.m. so I could show up in meetings peaceful and steady. We had individual video check-ins with each person and we established coffee & connection conversations to foster human interaction while everyone was shut-in. My friends and I agreed to Zoom twice weekly as a means of support and connection.

Now, more than half a year later (half a year!?) even the thickest of intentions have run thin for many. Weary from remote working, learning, and living, many of us have entered the “good gracious, just give me a slice of normal,” burned-out being phase. Simply put, we’re finding it more difficult to take care of our health and well-being. Beyond physical exhaustion, we are mentally spent and just Zoomed out.

We talk a lot here about being empathetic with others, listening attentively, and being intentional about care. As “shortage of grace” echoes in my mind today, and recognizing its impact on the individuals around me, I am reminded of the airline practice (airlines—remember how fun it was when we used to fly places?) of encouraging us, in the event of loss of cabin pressure, to secure our own oxygen masks before helping others. Like oxygen, grace seems critical for survival.

So, today, where do you need grace? Not just for others, but for yourself? Whether it’s skills navigating staying at home, riding the waves of remote learning, or learning to be a good partner even when you mess up (we have a workshop on that—register here), taking time to be gracious and nurturing with yourself is a vital. It’s the old adage: we can’t pour from an empty cup. If you are coming up empty in grace for others during this time, maybe the first step is having grace, empathy, and care for yourself.

Listen to yourself, the areas where you need restoration, and know you’re not alone. Six months down the road, and we’re still all in this together, one faltering, strong, learning and gracious step at a time.