For 26 years now, I’ve been blessed to share Christmas morning with my children. What changes there are from the giggles at 6am of toddlers running to the tree, to the cozy, hugging wake ups of today with coffee brewing at 9am. This Christmas it includes global smiles from Brazil, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Mexico and the good ole USA, as my sons bring home their friends and loved ones.
As I sit here in solitude at the kitchen table relishing cooking in the quiet magic of our home (as everyone else went out skiing for a few hours) one word keeps coming to me – Grace.
Earlier this morning I had a conversation with my son’s friend who’s spending the holidays with us from Turkmenistan (which is under a dictatorship). She said that people learn to find happiness from family, loved ones and good health as everything else around them is propaganda irrespective of truth. She said human rights, women’s rights get drowned out, so joy is found close in.
So, what is the definition of Grace – a) simple elegance, b) courteous goodwill, c) to do honor or credit to, d) spiritual strength and healing. Earlier this week, my friend Ariel Mann read this philosophical definition of Grace:
“How you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you climb down the mountain and so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. In the end, it all comes down to one word. Grace. It’s how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light.”
I’m not trying to be a downer on Christmas. I sit here feeling the deepest of love and gratitude for family, friends and health – for the life I have been given. And yet, I hold a weight of worry. As Americans, I’ve always believed that we could wonderfully challenge each other about ideas, policy, law, yet all have some common set of agreed upon facts and information.
I sit thinking about grace because I don’t know what to do when it seems these days that many people don’t even care about facts. I feel a bit like a boat in stormy seas without an anchor. My existential struggle stems from the fact that I teach holistic authentic values, based leadership with love as our foundational value. It’s powerful. It works. And, it gets hard when the leadership we see demonstrates a different kind of value.
And so as we go into this new year and new decade, I set my intention on simple elegance, on courteous goodwill, on honoring those I believe in, on asking for strength for the journey and living in that strength no matter what the weather. I will do my best to embody grace as I navigate the stormy sea of life doing what I most believe in to bring joy, success, health and healing to those around me. Perhaps if we all committed to grace – even for just a few minutes a day, some amazing things would happen.