A few weeks ago, I was away filming in this beautiful old building. While waiting for the crew to reset I got chatting to Ruth, one of our supporting artists who quietly told me there was a family in the room watching us.
“You mean….?” I said, stunned and she nodded sagely.
Given my total inability to watch scary movies, I took the news that a family of ghosts was keeping an eye on us, pretty well. In fact, I was intrigued.
But before I could ask more, we were back filming. Later, before she left, Ruth asked me, “Who’s Grace?” The name didn’t ring any bells.
‘Well, she’s watching over you.’
Even though I hadn’t a clue who Grace was, the thought of her spectral arms around me put a lump in my throat.
That evening I eagerly whatsapped my mum, expecting to discover that Grace was one of my long-since deceased grandmothers or some other relative watching me from above. My mum’s reply quickly dispelled that.
“No. Don’t know any Grace. Can you help me with my computer. Xx”
But thoughts of Grace kept tugging at my sleeve as the job came to an end.
It had been a great gig and I was going to really miss my lovely cast mates. I was moved by how kind my colleagues were to each other. We’d met as strangers but over our seven weeks together, birthdays were lovingly marked, support given, advice shared and many laughs had. It was heart-warming to witness but also created a sense of unease as I noticed things about myself. The sweet-naturedness around me put, in stark contrast, the parts of myself that are impatience, judgmental and full of complaint and righteousness.
And I realised, there’s another word for this kindheartedness I was observing – grace. I wasn’t entirely sure of its definition. I just knew it was what I was seeing and what I was not practicing when in those less savoury headspaces.
I’m sure we all have our own understanding but for me, Grace is things like, the ability to be kind even in the face of unkindness. It’s knowing when to speak up or let things be, the patience to explain things or lovingly modify your speaking so others can understand.
It’s the compassion to withhold judgement, the wisdom to not participate in gossip, to be responsible for your words even in disagreement. It’s the big-heartedness to be compassionate in your correction of others and the space to meet success and good fortune with humility. Grace is really about being present and coming from love, about honesty, integrity and generosity.
I began to wonder, when Ruth, that lovely supporting artist had asked me about Grace was she talking about a person or a state of being? Was the Grace watching over me something more ephemeral, an energy, perhaps even an invitation for me to inhabit the spirit of Grace?
Over the subsequent weeks, as I’ve consider this, the more I’ve become aware of where I fall short. Where I could be kinder, wiser and more generous of spirit and where I’d like to do better for no other reason than what else am I going to do while I’m on this Earth?
There is an ungracious one in all of us. One that was hurt, can be petty, small minded, unfair and unkind. So perhaps the most gracious place to start, is taking care of that one any which way we can.