“…the grace this tragedy exposed is the best of who we are.” Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Governor. 4/18/13 @ Holy Cross Cathedral regarding the Boston Marathon Bombings.
4.a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill. b. Mercy; clemency.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
This seemed to be the recurring theme dignitaries and politicians portrayed during an Interfaith service at Holy Cross Cathedral. Grace. Usually when you hear the word grace you think of effortless beauty; elegance. In Gov. Patrick’s remarks he meant goodwill and selfless generosity from people as they supported the injured; immediately after the bombings. But the grace definition I immediately thought of, since it was an Interfaith service after all, was: granting redemption, mercy, forgiveness.
During this live broadcast the work line rang. It was a missing persons alert: a local 9 y/o has not been seen since yesterday in a neighboring city. A brief description of what the child was wearing, and his features, were relayed in an automated voice; the county sheriff’s number repeated for any information. Just prior to the live broadcast I had been perusing the Internet on symptoms of pancreatic cancer; a strong premonition of what a member of our family might be undergoing, undiagnosed. I hope I am wrong. Images of a fertilizer plant blast flashed on the screen and my mind thought of all the combustible chemicals, notably nitrogen, that comprise a bag of fertilizer. The invoices on Quick Books are minimized on my computer screen as my eyes, unfocused, stare at the far wall.
The book, The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee popped in my head; the winner of a 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. As an oncology fellow at Mass General, in Boston, the author began to piece together a biography of cancer as he made his endless rounds with late stage cancer patients. It is insidious; it is everywhere. Morbid person that I am; I sometimes imagine that I, too, will succumb to the proliferating growth of these aggressive cells and envision my obituary. My burial trust is at-the-ready, my coffin awaits, my Bible verses chosen. That’s just how I roll. I lost my father to this disease, several friends and soon; within a finite amount of time, my boys’ maternal great-grandfather.
I seek grace. I yearn for the goodwill of our species; the respect for human life and inherent goodness in people. It blows my mind that an individual(s) can create such chaos. I strive to find effortless beauty in our world. As I typed these words the hubby came into the dark office, flicked on the bright florescent lights and plopped a canister of steel on the desk. Earlier I opened the heat treating oven as he extracted a glowing mass of red into the bucket of brine. It hissed and bubbled; an ugly steel mass. Sitting on the desk before me, now, is a polished and beautiful steel canister; unrecognizable from a few hours before. The raw material, under intense heat and stress, became a gleaming, polished thing of beauty.
I hope I can find it in me to give the individual(s) who created this heinous deed, grace. I want to be able to dig deep and forgive. I’d like to think grace reveals the best of who we are, who I am. But I am not there yet. I guess I am like the raw steel; burning, hissing, anger bubbling to the surface. If you soak me in brine maybe it will shock me calm and, in times of great stress, I will gleam bright. I continue on my quest…