Tuesday, February 28, 2012

being gracious.

There's this story in the New Testament where Jesus heals ten lepers. Ten sick, broken people, and they are all made well. Their lives are changed completley and utterly. They have been healed. They now live.

But only one comes back to say thank you.

It's this rule of 10 percent that scares me. Because the times and the cultures have changed, but I'd wager that percentage -- the percentage of people who choose to go back and say "thank you" -- hasn't changed at all.

We are people who are healed and who are gifted with life's greatest rewards, and rarely do we take the time to acknowledge it.

Over a year ago, when I turned 25, I told myself that I wanted to be gracious. I wanted to be the kind of person others enjoy being around, wanted to be kind and considerate and thoughtful, wanted my home to be a place of refuge and fun. I wanted to put others at ease, to be full of smiles and joy and gratitude. 

Gosh, but I fail miserably. 

It's a reminder, I guess, of my own weakness, that even on the days I set out with the best of intentions, I wind up doing the very things I set out not to do. 

This is where I'd normally give you an example of my un-graciousness, where I'd tell an anecdote about how I messed up, a personal story about my misguided attempts at grace. But sometimes, personal stories must remain personal, and because I am notoriously hard on myself, today I am giving myself a pass. I am forgiving myself for my miserable failures, and I am pressing on.

Grace is still the goal. That idea I had for myself at 25 is who I want to be at 26, at 42, at 65, at all the ages between here and eternity. It's a desire that I hope won't go away, since it undoubtedly won't always be met.

I want to be a generous and kind and loving and thoughtful person. I want to offer grace even when I am not always offered it. I want to be in the 10 percent. I want to be the one that turns back to say thank you.

(Note: Even though this blog is not often a place for re-blogging, I did come across these 10 Gentle Reminders written by Kate Spade yesterday, and I thought they were pretty appropriate guidelines for grace-filled living. Enjoy!)

1. Making others feel at ease is the essence of etiquette, yesterday and today.

2. There are few words more elementary or more welcomed than please and thank you.

3. Good moods are contagious. Hopefully yours will be pleasantly catching.

4. Be aware and considerate of personal space -- physical, visual and aural.

5. Showing respect is a gift, one that costs nothing and is endlessly appreciated.

6. Think of your tone of voice as a telegraph. To the listener it speaks volumes.

7. A short fuse does nothing but burn. Should you find yourself with one, steer clear of others.

8. Never underestimate the message that's sent by your poise and your posture.

9. Clothes count. Appropriate attire is not only respectful, it's refreshing.

10. Let common sense be your guide and graciousness your goal.


Leslie said...

This was a really lovely reminder, Annie. Yes, grace is the goal. I want to grow in this, as well.

Four Flights said...

I love the 10 reminders you posted. Beautiful post Annie, as always. And thank you for your sweet words congratulating us on our new addition. There certainly was a reason for everything :)

Kristy L. Cambron said...

Comments with grace and humility - I love this post! The picture drew me to the blog (let's face it - the picture you chose is vintage-chic!), but it's your beautifully written words that moved me. Thank you for sharing. (And I only have 2 Kate Spade purses, but I'd love to buy more now!) Wink! ; )

Sabrina said...

Numbers 1, 2, and 10 are fabulous! Exactly what I needed to remember.

Sydney said...

oh Annie I feel EXACTLY the same way! You are so not alone in attempting to achieve these things, excellent reminders from Kate Spade

Joyeful said...

I read that story often of the 10 lepers and only one who gives thanks and what a humbling distinction you've made--that there are still only a small percentage who are returning their thanks to God. What a beautiful reminder of the importance of a thankful and gracious heart!