Friday, October 20, 2006

"The Grace to Get Out of My Own Way"

I love this anecdote from Madeleine L'Engle's book The Irrational Season, in which she writes about discovering the power of being willing to serve others. The story happens in the context of her discomfort with her in-laws while going to their house for a week for a family celebration. The truth, though, is for any time and every place.

"I felt inadequate. . . I was clumsy and inept. . . I could not begin to come up to her requirements. . . I tended to be awkward and defensive.

When we set off for Tulsa I had decided within myself that I was going to do everything possible to make this a happy time for my [husband's family]. So, from the moment we arrived, I really knocked myself out to be pleasant and helpful. We hardly had to think about the children. . . so I was free to cook and do dishes and make beds.

It was an eminently successful week. When we were on the plane on the way home I suddenly realized that I had been given the grace to get out of my own way; all my activities had been unselfconscious; and so, all during that week, I had been given the gift of poverty of spirit without even realizing it.

And there in Tulsa, in a world in which I felt myself to be inadequate and inept, I was given a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven."


Ashley said...

Hi there, I really enjoy your blog! I love your photographs and the fact that you live in an old schoolhouse. I'll come back and read some more. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love this!
Poverty of spirit - how beautiful. And actually, how difficult to grasp at the same time. Good things to think about - thank you!
I can't remember how I stumbled onto your blog, but I've enjoyed it very much so far. You live in the kind of home we would very much like to someday!

Deanna Beth said...

Hmm... I need this attitude with my in-laws, instead of the less helpful attitude of wishing to be invisible so that they can find no fault.

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