May 26th, birthday gratitude entry:
Have you ever experienced a book that changed it all for you? I mean, like, you read it – and something just clicked.
This one did it for me. I first read it while in my early twenties and fell in love with Jean ValJean. He was the underdog. Misunderstood, stoic, persevering, and triumphant, he experienced pain, suffering, love, injustice, and grace. He transformed into a Vessel of Mercy himself. The telling of his story completely snagged me! It was and remains my favorite book.
This particular scene that I include here was “my turning point.” I recall well reading the passage, my heart beating wildly as I awaited the reaction of the priest to Jean’s crime… I wept from a space deep within as the passage unpacked itself.
If I were to sum up Mercy and Grace, this three-minute clip would serve as the complete package.
Mercy: not getting what you deserve
Grace: getting what you don’t deserve
Jean experienced both. And I daresay that THIS action – which could easily have never happened, and the priest would have been “justified”! – THIS one act of mercy and grace was a Life-Changer for Jean. He found himself so profoundly moved, so radically touched… that he ventured down an entirely new path.
Jean before: headed one way
Jean after: headed a completely different way
How about you? Have you ever experienced such breath-taking mercy, mind-boggling grace that you were left stunned, speechless, grateful. Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a kindness that melted perhaps a long-been-icy layer? Is it possible that kindness moves energies within even the most stubborn minds, closed eyes, trapped hearts?
Truly, kindness is a vibration that shifts the atmosphere and all within it. Those of us on the receiving end as well as those of us on the giving end of such a Love as this are forever changed at some level.
Givers and Receivers alike, granting one another merciful grace, gracious mercy. We wonder how to change the world, and I tell you that perhaps it is less about governmental structures and religious institutions. Perhaps Mercy-Givers and Grace-Granters – those emitting such high vibe as these – will lead the way to an entirely new path.
Corrie ten Boom, an Auschwitz survivor, was heard saying that she specifically remembers forgetting (to hold against others their crimes.) She refused to participate in hatred and separation. Healing came through her choice to forgive.
Anne Frank: “I don’t think of all the misery, but all of the beauty that still remains.”
Jean’s actions were still punishable. He stole the silver.
But the priest chose to be a vessel of mercy and grace, and thereby invite Jean into a life of truly living and not just surviving.
Priest: “I ransom you from fear and hatred.”
Jean: transformed, flowed in mercy and grace
… I pray that I too would grant others the gift of “candlesticks.” Amen.
Collective, I love you.
You. Complete. Me.
Much love & hope,