Watching the two sides shake hands after the match set me thinking about the word 'grace' . Is it the most mysterious word in the English language ? Is it one of the most beautiful? It has so many meanings, some of them obvious, others quite unfathomable to modern day sensibilities. It's a word that's now rarely used in anything other than its most obvious interpretations of attractive or elegant. Yet there's another , invisible, side to the word that intrigues me - 'grace' as a virtue. Sportsmen can be gracious in defeat, the troubled can be gracious in adversity, warriors can be gracious in victory. As a student writing my thesis in Atlanta I heard a choir at Martin Luther Kings church artfully sing ' grace is flowing like a river' to the old German tune ' O du froliche'- a lovely if elusive image beautifully framed. In St.Thomas' church in Manhattan 'Grace' sits alone looking down inspiringly on the worshippers from the chancel - not one in a thousand would know she was there or what she represents. Old Scots crofters sang about 'amazing grace' little knowing that 300 years later their tune would be played gracelessly in shopping malls around the world.. This last week a young New Zealand corporal serving with British forces in Afghanistan valiantly defused a hand grenade but firmly refused to be called a hero - ' I did it for my mates' - not a graceful phrase but one brimming over with old fashioned self-effacing grace.
The more I think about it the less I understand what grace is. Can it be taught ? Is it inherited? How do you define it? How do you recognize it ? Why is it amazing ? The best definition is that it seems to be some form of influence that comes to strengthen and inspire . It may be difficult to describe but it's easy to recognize . Yesterday evening I came across two posts that have a gentle rythmic grace about them , www.lifeatgoldenpines.blogspot.com and www.rockycreekscottieadventures.blogspot.com - each shows a tenderness and dignity towards the passing of an old family friend while also describing the harsh pain that comes with having to make that final parting decision. These two posts are grace full in the proper sense of the word. Then there is Max in South Africa who is now into his second month of grace - it flows all around when you look for it.