As the last few days of the school year are slipping through my fingers, it is a good time to check on my One Little Word. The word that insisted on choosing me is “grace”. As I thought over what sweet, nice little word to choose to make my year beautiful, the word “grace” wouldn’t leave me alone. It was like a little gnat. And then it became like a swarm of little gnats. On a humid, sticky day. It bothered me, it pestered me, it annoyed me. I didn’t want to choose that as my word because I knew why it was shouting in my ear. I tried to ignore it, but it was relentless.
“Grace” wanted to teach me a lesson. It sounds like a kind word, but it was really a challenge. As time went on in my new role as a coach, I was often discouraged by the negativity and loneliness that came with the territory. As much as I tried to keep my usual optimistic outlook and bring joy to the job, I found the constant pull of bad vibes dragging my spirit down more often than I liked. Instead of keeping my chin up, I found myself complaining inside my head and letting the discouragement get to me. Then “grace” came along and started its campaign. I finally gave in and chose it as my Official Word that would guide my thoughts and attitude for the year. Instead of letting those negative thoughts and situations take the upper hand, I have to meet those challenges with grace. When challenged by frustrated colleagues, I have to respond with grace. When I feel discouraged, I need to deal with myself through grace. It’s a huge undertaking, because looking at others through the lens of grace also leads to other challenging words, like “forgiveness”.
So–my progress report on acting with grace is a mixed bag. Keeping my One Little Word in mind has definitely helped me temper my reactions and process my own feelings when things go wrong. I have a long way to go, though! I have to constantly remind myself of my word and why I need it. In the end, I have to admit that that annoying little word has actually been very good for my heart. And with it has come new realizations of where to find all the other Little Words that I wanted to pick–joy, fulfillment, happiness, community, laughter. So I am grateful to my annoying gnat of a word and what it teaches me. I have a feeling it won’t let go of me for quite a while yet.
On a side note, this morning many of my neighbors and I woke up to the news of a water main break, which meant no water for all those essential things we like to do in the morning. And although I went off to school in a slightly dingy state, I handled it with GRACE!