I have a friend who is going through a difficult time right now. Like many of us, she is stuck between the rock and the hard place that is sometimes midlife. She juggles a demanding job, demanding teenagers and demanding in-laws. And she does it all with nary a complaint.
But lately, her brown eyes have lost some of their sparkle. The demands have escalated and she is frustrated, angry even. But mostly she is frustrated with herself for not having the “grace” to deal with it all…well, more gracefully. Her words.
Sound familiar? As females, we’ve been both the victim and the perpetrator of the “perfect woman” myth. It’s the one that purports that “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never forget to let him know he’s a man.”
Sounds good in a “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” kind of way. Until we gauge our pressure meters and realize we’re about to blow. Because let’s face it, most women do the heavy lifting when it comes to the caretaking of a family. Add on work pressures, menopause, aging parents, kids flying the nest…and it’s enough to make any woman blow a fuse.
But what do we women often do when we find ourselves at the breaking point? We apologize for not being able to handle it all. Instead of asking for help. Or, we pretend we can handle it all. That is until we break down. Or, we beat ourselves up for feeling frustrated, angry, anxious. And for not handling the situation with more grace.
I’m not an expert on grace, but I’ve been reflecting on the subject a lot lately. By its very nature, the word grace implies ease. But, grace is not always a cake walk.
I do believe there are times in our lives when we are graced with wisdom, the right words, the courage to stand on principles, the courage to keep going, the courage to say yes… or no. Grace in this form is a virtue and it comes from a higher power.
But I also believe there are other times when we must actively seek out grace. Pray her home, invite her in for a visit.
This might take some inner work, some personal reflection. It might take meditation, affirmations, study and prayer.
What’s important to know is this: grace is a powerful, mystical force. And always near. Grace is in the pause where you catch your breath and reel back the one game changer or cruel thing you can never take back…before it ever leaves your mouth. Grace lives in those split second decisions that sustain your dignity, your relationships and most of all, your higher spirit.
But given all of this, there are times when finding grace in difficult circumstances feels elusive. Maybe you’re not ready to forgive. Maybe you’re grieving an empty nest, or a job loss. Maybe you’re divorcing, or moving from one stage of being to another and you just haven’t made peace with it yet. Many of us experience an array of these challenges at midlife.
And so I say to you–and to my friend who is having difficulties adjusting to changes that are beyond her control–sometimes, you just have to wait for grace to catch up.
If your intentions are worthy and you take a small step to align with your higher self –even if your spirit isn’t completely in sync yet–grace will catch up with you. Just wait for her.