Small Graces Can be Hard to Find, but Should always be Celebrated

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Maybe that happens elsewhere, but here March can be almost as cruel as February. It can be crueler, even, as the bright sunshine can belie the harsh reality of those brutal winds. Fortunately, March also holds the promise of spring coming just around the corner (a Yukon spring, that is). This March I’ve decided that instead of my usual grumpiness about the wind and the cold and the muck and the dust, I’d try to stay focused on the “small graces” that brighten my life these days. I came across that phrase when reading an article about emerging from the pandemic and handling other people’s tolerance of risk that are different from mine. It struck me as a phrase worth remembering, especially during these interesting times.

My favourite small graces are the ones that surprise me with delight as they emerge from the pandemic and from winter’s darkness. They are things like:

  • Gathering in person for a book club meeting, after years of Zoom
  • Learning how to work productively and collaboratively with others, using technology
  • Discovering that, when walking or shopping, a mask also provides some protection from lung irritants, such as woodsmoke, perfume or the bitter winds of March
  • The glorious sight of flocks of birds swooping onto and between the trees in our yard
  • Learning how to use a carwash without someone to do the washing for me
  • Efficient and empathetic veterinarian services when our cat got seriously ill
  • Feeling like I’m on another planet when driving through a mist-draped landscape where the sun shines in a faint echo of itself
  • Taking some first steps to reactivating an exercise regime with the help of the Chronic Conditions Support Program
  • Seeing a family member after a long period of being apart
  • Readers of this column who give me feedback
  • The thoughtfulness of the care home staff where my dad is staying, especially when they set up a Zoom meeting between the two of us
  • My dad’s surprising ability to remember key things in his life (like me!) despite his Alzheimer’s diagnosis
  • Sunshine that warms the face, however slightly

It is said, and there are studies to match, that seniors tend to be happier now than they were in middle age. I know that’s not true all the time; nor is it true for everyone, but there is something to be said for growing old with these small graces. Some things do not get easier with repetition, such as losing a beloved family pet. At least one learns how to better deal with the aftermath of grief and to value the good moments.

Letting go isn’t easy, either; yet it can open one up to even more small graces. For example, I finally had to admit that decluttering was not going to happen magically and that I needed help to get it done. I found a marvelous service and have spent the past two months going through years of unopened boxes and files. Some of the contents have sparked a real sense of loss, as I recall career errors, missing people who were once close workmates—and especially all of those “might-have-beens.”

At the end of each session, I say a silent Thank you to all those who have crossed my path and who have made my life richer in so many ways. A big grace is realizing how much I’ve learned and how I can still contribute to society.

The biggest graces, of course, are the heroes of our community—all those who continue to brave their posts and to provide care and service despite the pandemic and their personal risk.

In summary, small graces can be hard to find, but I’m hoping that everyone has some small graces in their lives that could be celebrated. For me, one of the big takeaways from the pandemic is the need to stop, look, feel and be surprised by the wonder of the small graces I am privileged to experience. What about you?

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top