Well so resolutions are hackneyed. Obvi. And intentions are new agey (and I love em). But there’s this other option that seems to be trending: The One Word.
My sister did this last year and I must say, she did a phenomenal job. I watched her morph without knowing that she was even working on herself in such a concentrated effort. She did so good, in fact, that she’s doing it again this year.
My dad’s girlfriend, Barbara, has been doing The One Word for years, and her 2017 word choice has really stuck with me.
G R A C I O U S.
At first I was confused – she’s always so thankful and kind and pleasant; why did she need to work on being gracious?
But after mulling it over, I’ve come to realize that gracious runs deeper.
Gracious far surpasses kindness, while encompassing love. Gracious means generosity towards strangers, as well as loved ones. Gracious means you allow space for others to be perfectly imperfect, just as they are.
Gracious means no more huffing and puffing when two cars drive 23 miles per hour right next to each other on a two lane highway, preventing me from getting around them when I’m already late to work.
Gracious means smiling when I feel like frowning; and being sincere about it.
It means being merciful. Compassionate. Taking the time to say hello and smile.
It doesn’t mean you relinquish strength or assertion. It does mean you give up a couple moments now and again for the sake of another.
You don’t forgo sincerity or integrity. But “brutal for the sake of being honest” doesn’t fit in with gracious.
And while I think I’m gracious in moments, I’m hoping if I can keep this word on the back of my tongue, then maybe I can be gracious in all moments.
Even the little ones. Especially the little ones.
See I think I’m confused – all this time I thought kindness was the thing. But kindness means honesty, and honesty means I won’t feign interest or small talk. We, as millennials, are very anti small-talk. But what’s wrong with taking a moment for another person?
So I’ve been adding up all the little moments just to see the impact:
-Like when a friend hands me the newest Oreo flavor – he’s being gracious by bringing me into the conversation. And when I say “Oh no thanks” with a flick of my hand because I don’t care, (they aren’t gluten free), I’m not being gracious. I’m being bitchy.
-And when a girlfriend receives a movie she bought off Amazon, but hands it to me to watch first because she knows I’ve been dying to see it – that’s beyond gracious.
-And when someone scoots over to make room for me on the couch – that’s gracious.
-I think gracious is the word Judah Smith was searching for, when he summarized the second aspect of love in How’s Your Soul. Because Gracious perfectly summarizes his mantra – “They didn’t mean it.”
-And when my roommate comes home with a liter of my favorite water.
-And when my other roommate cooks gluten free, and makes enough to share.
-When someone sits there quietly and encourages a data dump to help process a bitter event.
-Or tells you your behavior is perfectly acceptable; even when it isn’t.
-Or just let’s you be … you.
-When ya’ll take the time to read this and sometimes comment on Facebook – you’re being gracious in your support of my writing endeavor.
And all these little moments add up to relationships and trust. Kindness can be oneway and misguided. Trust, though, is a mutual feeling of assurance.
Barbara, I really think you’re on to something, and I hope it’s okay if I, too, use your Word of 2017.
I’m hopeful that in 357 days, I’ll have a firm grasp on the complex concept of gracious, and just maybe, it’ll become second nature to my personhood. Until then, I’m going to continue tracking of all these little moments.
We shall see together.
Also… this song has nothing to do with this post, but I think it’s pretty rad and I wanted to share:
Categories: Gracious Moments