Thursday, November 12, 2009


Journal for Christa—

When I was young, I used to think about what it was to be gracious—a gracious woman. Perhaps it was because we lived in the South or because it came up as a topic in our women’s Sunday school classes. My vision of a gracious woman in those days was always someone older, always someone naturally nicer, and always someone calmer than me. I haven’t thought about graciousness in years. Maybe not many people have since I don’t recall anyone talking about it in ages. But, the thought resurfaced this week when Kim posted on facebook about the annoying notes people will leave in the tight living quarters they share in Germany.

Sometimes I like looking at magazines on “gracious living.” They always include scenes from wealthy, fancy houses decked with expensive furnishings, fresh floral arrangements, situated on acres of luscious gardens. That would be the life, but I don’t think that would make me gracious. And, knowing a little of history, the people who often occupied such places were anything but gracious, especially to the domestic help who kept it all looking so gracious to begin with.

I think to meet a gracious person today, woman or man, would be an anomaly. Indeed, we seem to admire the heavy handed, self asserting, making it to the top type woman today; and they are rarely gracious. We live in a rather self absorbed world. Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t think graciousness is door mat weak. I just think it’s different from how we naturally respond to people in situations. I think it would have a certain mystique about it, an eye raising appeal, a strength that people can’t quite put their finger on. I think I would like to be gracious.

I still don’t know exactly what it is to be gracious, but I kind of think it would be slipping the annoying note in your pocket to toss in the trash later, to smile at people as if you know something about life they don’t (because you probably do), and to walk in a stance that expresses God is working in your world, and you’re confident in His work.  And although I don’t think it would have to be someone older than me, I still think they’d be naturally nicer and definitely calmer. I haven’t thought about graciousness in years, but I think I’ll ponder it some. A gracious woman—just what would that look like?

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