Stephanie Pearce: Grace, joy, pride
Grace. When I say the word I think beauty. I think how I have received something I don’t deserve and how beautiful my life is because of it. There are a few definitions of grace. The first is an unmerited divine assistance given humans for their sanctification, a virtue coming from God, a state of sanctification through divine grace. The second is approval, favor, mercy, pardon, privilege. When you look it up in the dictionary, there are about five definitions ranging from this to pleasing appearance, how one moves, to a short prayer we say at meals. Grace, to me, is unmerited favor — a mix of the first two.
I look at all I have — my family, my home, my job and all the people in my life — and I can’t help but see grace everywhere. This grace bestowed to me in all the areas of my life makes me want to do the same for others and help them along the way. In turn, I hope with my grace given to someone, I also pass on a little joy.
Joy. Joy is my middle name. It means a feeling of happiness, a source or cause of great happiness; success in doing, finding, or getting something. I would like to think that I evoke the meaning of my middle name. I want people to smile when they think of me and be reminded of times I made them happy just by showing them some grace. I want to take pride in that.
Pride. Pride has two definitions as well. The first is deep feelings of admiration associated with achievement of your own or those with who you are closely associated. The second isn’t quite as great. It is a feeling of being more important than others, conceit and vanity.
I have a deep sense of pride in my community, my history, but not to the point where I think I’m better than someone else. I have come from humble places. I have struggled and seen struggle and heartbreak. I have been at the other end of the second definition, and some days I still am at the other end of it.
I look around at the place I call home and I see the old buildings, and I can’t help but feel my chest well up. I think of all the hard work that went into building them. The work that went into clearing the fields and planting them long before all of our high-tech inventions we use today came along. I can’t help but feel pride.
Having pride, in the good way though, makes me want to always bring grace and joy before me. It makes me want to be a more humble person and not look down on people for circumstances. It makes me want to do more.
Grace, joy and pride. Combined, they can bring great things. Look for ways that you can put grace and joy out ahead of you to show pride in your community. Make a difference in those around you today.