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Momentary Grace in L’viv

I’m having a very sweet time here in L’viv. I’m here with Lidia, a woman I met while traveling here in Ukraine this past summer. We are meeting up here for 10 days to enjoy the holidays together. One of the things I’m noticing is how sweet it is to be here with her, to snuggle on a cold evening while watching a movie, or walk romantically through the wintry evening streets. Being perhaps too much of a bachelor in my life, I’ve really missed that in my life lately and I’m loving it and being here with her. Renting my home out during the holiday season enables trips such as this. It’s hard to imagine wanting to go a chilly place such as Ukraine, but some things are distinctly sweet enough as to be worthy of exception.

I’m realizing that this life, this moment, this day, this week, this opportunity, this keystroke even, is simply a momentary grace, a momentary grace of the universe. What a joy to recognize that, for in that light, everything becomes a blessing. I naturally question the concept of grace, for isn’t it just some conjured posture or perspective which brings a rosiness to an otherwise bleak outlook on life? Not to me. I know that’s not a great logical exposition, but it truly doesn’t feel that way to me. It deeply feels like a grace, a grace that we have the chance to live, to be here wherever we are, to experience whatever it is that life has to offer, at each moment, at this moment.

The point of this writing is not to talk about how wonderful everyone should see things, but actually to more thoroughly explore this concept of grace. I don’t truly know the definition of grace, but what it feels like is a form of divine allowance. A chance. But not just any chance – a chance proffered by something greater. It’s funny for me to write that because I have always considered myself a bit of a fatalist, believing that once you’re dead you’re a long time dead, and eschewing concepts of divine intervention, fate, or guidance. Yet I write the word grace with confidence (although perhaps not complete confidence or I probably would have capitalized it by now). Yet I recognize this experience of grace, a feeling which feels replete with blessing and dare I say bestowal? It feels like a gift, and how can a gift exist without a benefactor? If not a benefactor, then the gift would have to simply appear. If so, then wouldn’t the universe be the benefactor for it still arises from some place? This is all starting to sound a little too logical, perhaps too philosophical an approach, as if it were an external experience capable of true objective examination rather than the internal reality of this experience.

Yet I remain curious about this, for ‘grace’ feels like the word which is at the fulcrum of my belief or disbelief in a force or presence greater than myself, bearing some intelligence, intent or capacity greater than simple physics, biology and chemistry. I have very dear friends whose intelligence I deeply admire who believe strongly in astrology. Will I ever in this lifetime believe that my relationship to the orientation of the planets, moon and sun at the moment of my birth have had an effect on my formation and on-going unfoldment? I’m too practical, too logical for such things, or at least have been until this point. Same for numerology, palmistry, and tarot. I do, however, strongly believe that there are many people who have cultivated or been granted a powerful sense of intuition and who can bring that gift to bear through such media. Yet here I am talking about grace. How do I fold this concept into into my otherwise non-other-worldly perspective?

It’s truly a very good question, for I feel grace. Actually feel the experience of grace. I don’t know how to describe it really except perhaps to say that I feel a deep sense of being allowed, of being granted, of being bestowed upon.

I titled this entry “Momentary Grace” in attempting to underscore to the brevity of our lives, and the grace inherent in that brevity. This day can seem like a very short amount of time. This 4 seconds that it takes to read this sentence is obviously even shorter. Yet are our complete lifetimes any less brief? It certainly doesn’t feel so. And a benign and spectacular gift it is. And mine feels like no less than grace. Yours?

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