Grace in Forte

DSC_0514Watching my daughter practice piano day after day, I can only describe what I see as nothing short of graceful. I  could bask in this sunbeam of her for hours, if she would allow me. Mesmerized by her heart and mind extending out through her fingertips and fill the air not just with a collection of captivating notes, but with something it lacked before; something like insurmountable joy and hope, I find that her music breathes life into our home in ways other things cannot. Unfathomable joy ushers in completeness; rivaling other elations I cherish, like uncontrollable giggles of children or the slipping away of the sun’s radiance at the end of a long summer day. Her music steadies and comforts my soul. It is not about the songs she plays, but the passion, intention, and purpose all filtered through her sieve, or soul, of tenderness. Her character is meek and her gentleness can be felt even in the forte of whatever song she chooses to play.

Grace is motion; it is movement. It is not without purpose, determination, or strength. And as I think about the different things I have assigned grace to, things like pirouetting ballerinas, the sweeping motion of an eagles’ wings, the glide of ice skaters, Meg’s piano playing… I have realized how much I have misunderstood a colossal part of grace. Grace is not light of touch or wispy like stratus clouds or soft like velvety bunnies, and yet somewhere along the line we have always assigned grace as such—an elegant tenderness; but this is what grace resembles once reflected off the One who placed it within us to begin with. When I sit back and think about the intentional placement of the pianist’s fingers, the dedication needed to master a melody, the strength, determination, energy both necessary and required to share a piece of themselves in this way, it baffles my mind. Grace is intentional. Grace is a practiced, quiet strength. It is led by determination to go beyond the expected. Grace is the active expression of Christ’s love through us (Col. 3:4, paraphrased).

In His book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning pens the profound, yet simple words that reside deep within my own heart: “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it”. When we experience the goodness of Christ in our lives, that is grace. That is His immeasurable strength, determination, intention, and unconditional love and acceptance for us– and through us. I am completely humbled day in and day out at how much I desperately need Christ’s grace and I am completely grateful (and baffled) for the fact that His grace is not just enough for me, but more than enough so that I, in turn, have excess grace to share with others. Grace requires strength that surpasses ours, enduring practice, and deliberate intention. Often, we are called to exhibit grace to those who have hurt us, sinned against us, or the unlikable. On our own, we will feel uncomfortable and unqualified. Out of the overflow of what has already been given to us, and a reliance on Christ’s strength, not ours, we intentionally practice grace over and over again. And in the crazy, hectic-ness of life where life is so loud, grace abounds. Grace in Forte!

I love that I have the honor and privilege to watch Christ express Himself through Meg in her music. She is a beautiful expression of the love of Christ.