You know that scene in the movie, “Forrest Gump “, where Forrest is running across the country, and a guy comes up to tell him that he stepped in some dog feces? Forrest’s response was an accepting: “@#$% happens!” That scene reminds me that we always have it in our power to either focus on being open to God’s grace, or to focus on the !@#$ that happens in our lives. It portrays Forrest’s simplistic and honest nature, which is partly why that is such an inspiring movie. It’s true that bad things happen to good people… and to all people. That is the nature of being human in a wounded and sinful world.
As a Catholic, I believe that grace flows through participating in the sacraments, especially through Reconciliation and receiving Holy Eucharist, and through the practice of regular prayer and meditation. Grace is also more readily present through our conscious intentions during our daily moments to ask for God’s grace, so that He can give us the necessary strength & wisdom to find peace & joy within those moments.
Hundreds of grace filled moments happen in our lives each and every day. When we strive to align our hearts and minds to what God wills for us within those moments; we can start to see that ALL moments can be grace filled moments. I believe that saying YES to be an open channel for that grace to flow more freely is key .
Grace happened last month when my kids and I went and made St. Patrick’s Day crafts with my mom and the other residents. Despite my kids hogging all of the shamrock and pot o gold stickers, it was a really rewarding activity! The highlight for me was when I delivered a mini
decorated green hat to a woman sitting off in the corner by herself. As my daughter and I walked over and bent down to hand her the hat…her downcast face looked up at us and just beamed with joy. Tears formed in her eyes as she emotionally said, “You just made my day…thank you!” God’s grace is so palpable in those moments, that it just oozes out into the air around us, surrounding us and charging the atmosphere with a profoundly sublime and loving energy.
Grace happened the other day when my son very sweetly asked for a spoon at breakfast (without any prompting), instead of impatiently screaming out, “Mom, get me a spoon!”, as he has been prone to do frequently lately!
Grace most definitely happened the other day when my two oldest kids came running up stairs and very uncharacteristically called out saying, “Mom we picked up all the toys…come and see, come and see! I tried not to fall over and faint from the shock. Instead, I very innocently said, “oh really? Let me go see!”
Grace happened on our spring break trip the other week, when my kids were enthusiastically climbing this hugely sprawling 100 or so year old tree, and my son Colin randomly called out, “This is better than a lifetime!”
Wow, I thought, he thinks this moment sums up what is better the VERY BEST that can be offered in a lifetime (at least that’s what I gather that he meant). The best part is , he probably had no idea what he meant, he just knew that he was having THE BEST TIME EVER! There was a pretty heavy dose of joy and grace present in that moment. Again, the joy and grace were thick in the air that day…as we stood around soaking up all of the awe and excitement of new adventure.
Grace happens every time my 2-year-old sweetly tells me, “I U mom”(her version of I love you)!
Grace happened that other week when my kids played a crossword puzzle game with my mom and the residents at her nursing home in the dining room. They use this mega sized cross word board and write the answers with a dry erase marker as people call out the answers. I was shocked when some of the men and woman called out an answer…expecially when it seemed as if they were totally checked out in that moment! It was so sweet to watch my daughter call out some answers, feeling so proud of herself that she was beating all these people who were WAY older than her! Mom came in second place behind Lauren 🙂
One of my favorite lines from the movie “Forrest Gump” is, “My mama’s always telling me how miracles happen every day…some people don’t think so…but they DO.” I also love, “Mama always says that stupid is as stupid does.”
Another favorite is, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” This line reminds me of all of those people, like my mom, who suffer with all types of dementia. Over time, dementia robs a person of their thinking capacity. They can no longer remember basic information. Eventually, most of them will not even remember the names of their children or even their own name. Ultimately, when that time comes, what is important to remember is that they will still need your love….when all else fails…love still endures….
The most famous line in “Forrest Gump” is…..”Life is a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get!” But, with God’s help….You can sure bet that no matter what the circumstance, that it can be FULL OF GRACE!