on the giving of grace and names that are our own.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

and isn't it funny that what names us is often the thing we struggle with most? threaded in strands of gold and what I pretend is glitter but is just twine, my name means grace. grace, palms open and head up in ways that you remember to breathe. like the sky is for stars and rain tastes better than sun on my skin, we are called to live in grace and yet I trip and stumble and end up in puddles of saltwater painted black with the thickness of stars. I always wanted to walk the ocean side and write my name in the shoreline with sea foam but I ended up with seaweed clutched hard in my hands. I could never find a way to skip rocks so I threw stones into the the deep and they sunk to the bottom with a thud like the last word I never had.

grace. to give grace. to not only others, but myself.

grace for the days spent on the couch, cough drops in hand and cups of lukewarm water, teabags marking rings on the bottom, like freckles painting my face. grace for the times I've cried and compared myself in the mirror, "it isn't enough," but what is enough isn't me and never was and will be (in my weakness, He is perfect strength). grace for the times I've slept in too late and walked through the days with sleep in my eyes like a catalogue of the dreams I wanted to hang onto just a little longer. grace for the long nights working with only the dull glow of my screen to keep me up, a pandora station playing the strains of love songs and goodbyes wrapped together with the sound of banjos.

grace for the empty sketchbooks I couldn't bear to finish and the cakes that turned out flat and the stories I tried not to write but found myself penciling in graphite on napkins holding crumbs from that one pastry I loved and ordered everytime I bought coffee like I was pretending I was in a big city and not this small town. to be truthful, me and my red lipstick stick out like a sore thumb in this farmers country but I can't bear to give up the early mornings with the fields outside burnt into the sky, mornings painted the color of autumn. and so there is grace for not loving the cities, for loving the quiet of the country. there is grace that is gold and richer than the hay bales stacked to keep out the coming frost that says here.

we walk, head up and eyes open but not seeing, in heels that fit too small, holding onto our ideas of what should be and who we could be. bagels are carbs and I'll take my coffee black, in the city that I never wanted to live, because that's how we run through our days of life, chasing other people's dreams and dropping stones into sea foam painted green like the sky. I was never good at acrylics but I have a drawer full of watercolor paints that were gifts when I dreamed of being nothing more than an artist. paint stains on your shirt are frowned on and my fingerprints always left smudges of blue or red or green because the colors I dabbed onto brushes always found my fingers, so I washed my hands and put away canvases and pretended to love what everyone else liked.

and there is grace for that. grace for the days spent pretending to be someone you're not, but sooner or later the mask slips and it was only paper-maiche that never truly dried. I'll pull the tearing paper from my freckles and throw off my heels and run barefoot, because there's nothing sweeter than the feel of fresh earth and grass underfoot, and there's nothing wrong with food and who cares about the city lights when you have the stars in the sky, like a patchwork quilt poked with fairy lights. I wrote my name in the dirt with a twig and somehow, found that grace isn't just in giving, but it's in being, and that there is a beauty to being who I am.

I ate fresh raspberries and held grace in open palms and realized that to give grace, I have to start with me.

some personal thoughts and rambly prose from being sick.
there is grace even in these moments.
learning to see it and to give it and to live it.


  1. oh Hannah. this is storytelling. where I feel your every word. I've been dwelling a lot on grace lately. I need God's grace, because I'm not enough. I so often hurt other's in my want for that far-off big city, or the late nights, or the paints I never use. I say it's just who I am, or that I don't know how to be different. But my many paragraphs and chapters that fill my stories with other people's pain needs grace from God. I think its my word, though I change my word more often than naught, but I need God's grace. For the times when my story is at the low point, and the editor would shake their head "no one would want to read this, they wouldn't like the main character". But the main character is her own person, and she needs a lot of grace.

  2. You are a beautiful writer, dear... <3

  3. oh Hannah, have I ever told you how much I adore your heart? it is beautiful, just as you are. it is so very honest and raw and real and authentic. i love that about you. this was especially hard for me to read since my middle name is grace, and often, i forget that. and it becomes ironic in my daily life that though it is part of me, i don't exude it. i need and desire God's grace, but I myself don't give it very often, and that needs to change. grace for a family ripped open but sewed back together again. grace for accented english and curious questions. grace for anger and arguments. and for this: "...so I washed my hands and put away canvases and pretended to love what everyone else liked." because i struggle with that. struggle with the fact that many of my friends and family don't get my artistic side, my love of art, beautiful things, different clothing, run-on sentences, etc. etc. sometimes, i want to pretend to like the things they like so they will like me, and i need grace for that. because that is me, and that is not the way i want to live my life. this is getting long, so thank you for writing this, sweet friend. i needed this. love you!

  4. This is beautiful. I wish I could say something eloquent, but all I can really say is that I am in awe of you and your skills and your kindness in sharing.

  5. This is beautiful, Hannah. Just beautiful. I love the way you ramble just a little with your sentences, enough to catch interest, but not enough to snag that interest and rip it. :)


  6. This story blessed me so much. I need grace every day, and I need to learn how to give grace. Grace for the girl whose middle name was Grace but struggles with it so much. Grace for fingers digging into palms and grace for words that shouldn't have been said. Grace for forgotten resolves and tired eyes and messy floors. Thank you for helping me see once again that there is always enough grace. <3