Grace as a Second Wind

Anne Lamott, in her 2012 short book Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, offers this comment on grace: “But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.”

Grace is commonly defined as an undeserved gift from God. Lamott’s observation suggests that God, as the giver, always has a better idea than we do about what kind of grace we need. We may think we need clarity and resolution, but God gives us stamina and the strength to continue. We may think we need a different job than the horrid one we have now, but God gives us the patience and fortitude to manage to stay where we are a little longer and “bloom where we’re planted.” We may think we’d like a change in something fundamental about our partner, but, if we’re really fortunate, what we get is the grace to change something fundamental in ourselves.

Today, look at the second winds you’ve received in your life and take a moment for gratitude that God is in charge of grace and is a whole lot more astute than we are.


Spiritual ADD

Several days ago I happened to catch a TV program featuring Kerry Shook, senior pastor of a congregation in Texas. Kerry is an excellent communicator, but what grabbed my attention was his topic: “Spiritual ADD.” I do not recall that he spoke to that topic at any length – most of the sermon time was given to a very effective presentation by his wife, Chris – but Kerry’s topic sparked my imagination.

These days it would be hard to find anyone who doesn’t know that ADD means Attention Deficit Disorder or that key symptoms may include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness. ADHD is another term used for it. In fact, the latest twist on the name is “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder predominantly inattentive (ADHD–PI).” I’m surprised anyone can pay attention long enough to get that entire name out! Depending on how broadly ADHD or ADD is defined, as much as 5% of the world population is believed to show symptoms of it.

Spiritual ADD likely affects a much higher percentage of the population. I would suggest that the key symptom is inattentiveness to one’s spiritual life. It would be easy to blame the technology available to us today and how devoted we all seem to be to keeping up with our electronic devices. But even though technological innovations surround us like never before, there is no greater reason now than ever to allow them to supplant the time and attention our spiritual lives require.

Unlike the usual types of ADD/ADHD, spiritual ADD has a cure. Spending a little time every day in silence, focused on your own inner self, inviting communion with the divine element within you is really all you need to do to resolve spiritual ADD. You can choose to use a zabuton cushion or a simple chair. You can choose to be indoors or outdoors. If you are really fortunate, you might even find a place like the one pictured here: a private bench at Meditation Mount near Ojai, California.

Make your spiritual life a priority; the rewards will astound you!