The word “grace” seems such an old-fashioned word today. If you check your dictionary it means “seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form or proportion.” But to me grace always meant kindness and elegance.
When I was about 11 years old, I had a friend who was in her 80s. I visited her at least once a week, and in the summer, I would see her nearly every day. She taught me so much about how ladies should act; I worried that I wouldn’t be lady-like enough. But she kindly told me that part of grace is not judging another person. She used to say “we never know what someone is going through, so we must be kind.”
I learned so much from her, and to this day I remember her telling me that even when people are not kind, you still give them the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think that she realized how much she taught me, and if she were still alive today I would thank her over and over again for the life lessons she taught me.
I read this story in a magazine years ago: a man and his two children got on a bus crowded with people. The man sat down, and the two children ran around yelling and chasing each other. The other people on the bus were annoyed. A woman who sat near the man asked him if he would do something about his noisy children as they were annoying the people on the bus.
He turned to her and said, “their mother just died and they don’t know what to do. Neither do I.” This changed every person on the bus. People who had been annoyed at the children changed completely. They offered the children candy and told them how sorry they were about their mother.
We never do know what is in the minds of others, even if they look like they are on top of the world. Every time I get annoyed at other people I remember this story and try to give them the benefit of the doubt. The very premise of grace means no judging. The older I get I understand grace more. My hope is that I will keep remembering it.