82610susanblogThe question was so basic, it could have been embarrassing, but it wasn’t. No one else in the room fully understood it either. The Rabbi was teaching a passage from the morning prayer:

You grace humans with knowledge and teach mortals understanding.
Graciously share with us your wisdom, insight and knowledge.
Blessed are you Adonai, who graces us with knowledge.

Shelly asked, “What does grace mean?”

I see and hear the word often, I use the word sometimes, yet I could not have defined it until now. The Rabbi told us it means a spiritual gift from God. The defines it as favor or good will. Ohhhhhh, I get it.

In 1999, a teenager named was playing hockey on a school sponsored club team in our north shore suburb. He was checked (defensive physical contact) by a player from the opposing team and suffered paralysis from the chest down. My son Craig was in college at the time, but he had played high school hockey and was notorious for playing rough. All I could think about at the time, and since is, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” How easy it would have been for Craig to seriously hurt someone on the ice, on the football field or driving in his car.  It’s a chancy world we live in.

The idea of God doling out rewards, punishments, and causing things to happen— or not, is a tough concept for many. It’s a common topic of discussion among many religious groups. Does man have free will, or are we like a puppet, unable to do anything on our own without the man above pulling our strings?

When I returned from services, I went straight to my computer to Google the news story about the paralyzed hockey player. There were a lot of old articles about the accident, a lawsuit, and a few references to other paralyzed student athletes. Then I found something new. Neal graduated from college in 2006, and works in the financial industry. He’s smiling in his picture and very handsome. I also did a search on the kid who caused the injury. He's a high school teacher in Chicago. Catastrophes happen and we cannot imagine how people get past it, but they do. Every single day terrible things happen...and terrible things don't.

There but for the grace of God, go I.

Sensing Grace

I finally sense the grace
that is at my grasp every day.
It is here.

When it's frigid,
when it's bleak,
when I'm joyous.
It is here.

When health suffers,
when loved ones pass,
when I'm grateful.
It is here.
When hearts ache,
when fear festers,
when I'm content.
It is here.

It is here, because
You are here.

- Karen Laven

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