Lisa, one of the respiratory therapists, came into my room Saturday afternoon. I wiped the tears from my eyes, putting on pause the tense discussion taking place in the room before she entered. There are a lot of things going awry in my life right now, not limited to my physical issues. I knew Lisa was nearing the end of her shift, and there was a good chance I wouldn’t see her until my next hospitalization, which isn’t exactly something you can plan or look forward to. I smiled and talked to her as the friend she is as she prepared my treatment. She then told me that she was going to start calling me “Grace” because I smile through it all.
I was so struck. The tears came back. Happy, this time. Blessed. This woman comes into my room, serves me, with more patience and gentle love than her job asks of her, definitely more than I deserve… she sees me for ten minutes, every four hours, a few days a year. Here I am, unable to shake off some meanness from family members, medical staff, and church folk. Letting situations bring me to tears… As Lisa leaves, she smiles at me, so sweetly, and says, “Goodbye, Miss Grace. You stay away!”
I’m often reminded of a favorite, somewhat conflicting lyric by my favorite songwriter. “This is a state of grace. This is the worthwhile fight.” Taylor is speaking of love, no doubt, but her words commonly apply to the grander scheme of life. A state of grace is very picturesque to me. It sounds lovely. I would very much like to live in total grace, to effortlessly forgive those who wrong me, to be less reactionary. And yet, as I attempt to be zen, to let all things roll off of me, something sinks like a stone in my stomach. There are times to “let it go” and “shake it off”, but some things… are worth fighting for. Family. Freedom. When it is right, love... And Truth.
I feel an immense challenge to remain graceful in these fights. At the same time, I know I have been given a spirit of love, and power, and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7) If I approach these battles with my honest, loving heart, standing firm in the power I have in Christ, and pray for Him to help me live out that self-control... I think I can do this. I can fight for a better understanding and support for chronically ill teenagers and young adults. I can fight for my family. I can fight against the shame society has been cast on every young person living with a disability. I can fight for our place in this world. And with a spirit of love, power, and self-control, I pray that I may do so gracefully.
“This is a state of grace. This is the worthwhile fight.”