Grace in the Eye of the Storm

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By Mark RodgersWish we could turn back time, to the good old daysWhen our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed outWish we could turn back time, to the good old daysWhen our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed outWe're stressed out- 21 Pilots from their hit song aptly named "Stressed Out"We are on edge.  It feels like a razor's edge, and we are dying of a thousand cuts.Family is un-friending family, canceling summer plans.  Co-workers are shutting their doors, or if in an open office, they are taking their conversations outside.  We don't know when to laugh, or what to name something without pulling a trigger.  Being sensitive is not enough, and accepting without reservation is barely sufficient.  The grocery store bagger isn't even smiling any more because rudeness begets rudeness.  We are walking on eggshells and breaking them left and right.When 21 Pilots dropped their pants at the Grammys, it was as if someone finally said to us "relax, you're too stressed out."   They are right.  We all need to give and get a little grace.The world is complex and becoming more so. As my friend Kevin Kelly wrote in his book, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, “We are morphing so fast that our ability to invent new things outpaces the rate we can civilize them.”There is disorientation that comes with the pace of change around us, whether furthered by technology in our homes, disruption in the Oval Office, globalization in our markets, or polarization in the public square.

channel24.coThankfully, there can be peace in the storm, as Chance the Rapper reminded us as well at the Grammys, there to perform after being nominated for seven awards:Age to age He standsAnd time is in His handsBeginning and the endBeginning and the endAt church last week, my friend Mickey poked his head through my car window to tell me that he loved "my movie" Silence and that "Kichijiro was the only one who got it!"  "Got what?" I asked in return.  "That grace is always there for us," he told me. "Grace never runs out."As the storm of uncertainty spins us out of control, grace is there for us to alleviate our vertigo, but that same grace calls us to give grace.  Grace begets grace.Rachel Cusk retells "the uncouth conduct of the Roman soldiers a the foot of the cross" in her New York Times magazine essay The Age of Rudeness.  "They know not what they do was Jesus' comment on his tormentors," she reminds us. "Forgive them."
When I see fingers pointing, hear voices raised, and watch people pull themselves up and push out their chests, I am reminded that the right response to this exhibition of what Cusk calls "humanity's incurable awfulness" is not a tooth for a tooth, or an eye for an eye, but a coat off the back, or even the other cheek.

Kevin Kelly reminds us that change is inevitable, progress is history's future, and there is no way to avoid the future even when we wish we could turn back time.  There is no macro solution, there are only micro responses -- yours and mine.  So let us be agents of grace in the eye of the storm, it's the only way to calm it:GraceShe takes the blameShe covers the shameRemoves the stainIt could be her nameGraceIt's a name for a girlIt's also a thought thatChanged the worldAnd when she walks on the streetYou can hear the stringsGrace finds goodnessIn everythingGraceShe's got the walkNot on a ramp or on chalkShe's got the time to talkShe travels outsideOf karma, karmaShe travels outsideOf karmaWhen she goes to workYou can hear the stringsGrace finds beautyIn everythingGraceShe carries a world on her hipsNo champagne flute for her lipsNo twirls or skips between her fingertipsShe carries a pearlIn perfect conditionWhat once was hurtWhat once was frictionWhat left a markNo longer stingsBecause grace makes beautyOut of ugly thingsGrace finds beautyIn everythingGrace finds goodness in everything- U2 photos via kinkert.net, channel24.co, diffuser.fm