My friend Glenn posted the question on Facebook, “Are patience and Grace the same thing?” This caused me to go hunting for the definition of grace and precipitated this post. I think that I know what grace is but it is one of those words that is larger than it appears on the surface, rather like God. There is a saying in Zen Buddhism: the Tao that can be named is not the Tao. Now Tao, interestingly enough, does not translate as God but generally as “the Way,” which I gather infers that it is a lifestyle, a way of being in the world (the proper way of being in the world, one might conclude). I try to clear space before me to hold these ideas and sit with them. What does it mean to have grace? What does it mean to know God? And how does that relate to the Tao; the Tao that is defined by Zen as direct pointing – something that can be experienced but which can only be known via experience? To define it is to limit it to something which it is not. I feel that way about God and about grace. And I am not sure why Tao is not God.
So these pages are my attempt to grasp all that. With regard to Glenn’s question, I think grace is much more than patience, although to be patience is to express grace. Grace is a quality I have courted for years. I could actually call this Courting Grace. My name Nancy means grace. For years I have used the moniker Graceanja for my email and user names on various websites. Anja is Russian for grace or Sankit for the inexhaustible. In America we prefer the spelling Anya but the Dutch spell it Anja and since I was born in Holland, I went with that one. I found it was the name of some Goddess in a book I had; I’m going to have to locate the book one of these days. As a person who grew up awkward and seemingly lacking in grace, I used to quip that my parents named me Nancy meaning grace but that it didn’t stick. I would have preferred to be named Grace truth be told, but that is neither here nor there. The point is that I have been courting Grace for years. Trying to become Grace incarnate. But how does one do that? That’s the question. This blog is my answer.