If icons like Aubrey Hepburn, Princess Grace of Monaco, or Jackie Kennedy Onassis come to mind when thinking of the word grace, you’ve got the idea. To be sure, all three of these women are on my hit list of who’s graceful and to be admired in the world. But what I really have in mind when I speak of grace and graciousness is something bigger than the icons, bigger than the classic beauty and timeless sense of style these women and their modern counterparts possess.
It is true that classic beauty and style do lend themselves to attracting attention and certainly wining popularity contests. But there is something beyond the looks, something beyond the style that more accurately defines them. It was the way they interacted with their world, with themselves and with others that anchors the love of these women into the hearts of millions.
This facet of grace is the spectrum I will be exploring in this section of the blog.
Grace is not only possessed by the classically beautiful, the wealthy, the glamorous or the famous. Once you know the qualities of character that come together to create graciousness, you will see her everywhere and far more often then you’d expect.
Encountering graciousness is like breathing in deeply after a long underwater swim. It’s the swirl of sea air teasing your sweaty neck as you sit in the sun. It’s reaching for the water bottle just after a workout. Graciousness attracts us like flies and keeps us coming back for more. These gems, the most gracious among us, authentically love themselves while, obvious to those around them, love others just as much, if not a wee bit more.
They are not push-overs however, nor are they saints. In fact, it is the very humanness of them held against their affinity and thoughtfulness for others that makes them such enigmas.
You know graciousness when you see it. She is the cute girl who serves you in the checkout line who always seems to remember your name, the woman especially kind to the waitstaff at the table beside you. She is the woman you bump into at the mall who smiles back at you in a way that let’s you know “no harm done, it’s totally okay” and she wishes you the best, even though she never says a word.
She might be your neighbor next door who always knows what to say to lift your spirits or the older woman in your church who listens as though she really cares.
Wherever you find her, you will know because you will feel it as much as you will see it. She will not seem to be above you, nor beneath you. She will make you feel as good about yourself as you do when you are with her.
Stevie Nicks says this about attaining graciousness:
“Your graciousness is what carries you. It isn’t how old you are, how young you are, how beautiful you are, or how short your skirt is. What it is, is what comes out of your heart. If you are gracious, you have won the game.”
It’s that certain something, that can’t be purchased. But it can be acquired. It can be had by anyone really who cares to look for it, practice it, believe in it and live by it. For me, it is a way of looking at the world. It is an attitude that doesn’t depend on its own resources to shine but instead gains power from looking at others with eyes of acceptance, love and…well – grace.
This quote sums it up rather gracefully,
“Graciousness is the fruit of someone who knows how badly they themselves need grace.” ~Tullian Tchividjian