The Rhythm of Grace

I woke up to a cold house. Shivering despite being in a warm robe, I knew something was wrong. The temperature gauge showed a cold 58 and lowering. No heat came from the vents. The furnace was clearly not functioning.

“Could one more thing go wrong?” I thought. Which, of course, is a foolish thought. Yes. Absolutely. A lot more could go wrong. We could have another death. We could have another tragedy. That’s the thing about life – the horrid and tragic things that could happen are limitless. If it were not for grace, why would any of us want to get up in the morning?

And yet – there it is – the last best word one writer called it – Grace.

There is grace. There is hope. There is incredible beauty. There is laughter. There is resurrection. And there always has been.

It’s only been in the past 75 years that life became easy for so many. It wasn’t until the 1940s that wide-spread use of antibiotics became possible, helping people who would have previously died fight infection. It’s been in the last 100 years that we have seen massive advances in infant mortality and morbidity rates, changing the landscape of maternal child health. It was only 102 years ago that the last world-wide flu pandemic killed millions. But even then, there was grace. Even then people lived and loved, laughed and hoped, longed for restoration and resurrection.

Growing up in Pakistan I was introduced at an early age to food rations, no running hot water, no flush toilets, diseases like malaria, dysentery, hepatitis, malnutrition, blackouts, curfews, war, tragedy, and death. While Pakistan was far more than these things, living there meant I was not isolated from many of the things that my peers in the west never experienced. I am not a stranger to the uncomfortable, irritating, and sometimes tragic things of life.

And yet, when I met with a cold house and malfunctioning furnace, I still asked “Why?” I still questioned what else could go wrong.

And then the tears came. First hesitantly and then, when they realized they met with no resistance, they rushed to the surface.

Like so many in today’s world, I don’t know what I’m doing. All that I held dear, all that I planned, all that I worked for earlier feels as though it is no longer a reality. I cried and cried and cried. I didn’t hold back worrying that someone would see or hear these tears. That’s the thing about grieving alone – you don’t will yourself to stop for fear you will be misunderstood, you don’t try to compose yourself. You let the waves of grief move over you, like waves over the sand.

I cried that my brother left us all behind. I cried for my sister-in-law. I cried for my niece and nephew. I cried for my mom, grieving the loss of a child. I cried for all of us who knew and loved this remarkable man. I cried for the suffering around the world – Italy, India, Spain, Pakistan, the United States. I cried for all the people who have become statistics on a sophisticated, computer-programmed map. I cried for morgues that are too full and hospital staff that are too stressed. I cried for the refugees and those who are displaced. I cried for the world.

I don’t know how long I cried. It really didn’t matter. After a while, my sobs subsided, my breathing slowed and I sat still, taking it all in. Nothing had changed, but everything was different.

And then I got up and did what had to be done. Shower. Emails. Meetings. Curriculum development. More meetings.

The rhythm of life in the midst of quarantine. The rhythm of grace.

This is not the end  This is not the end of this  We will open our eyes wide, wider This is not our last  This is not our last breath  We will open our mouths wide, wider And you know you’ll be alright  Oh and you know you’ll be alright This is not the end  This is not the end of us  We will shine like the stars bright, brighter


8 thoughts on “The Rhythm of Grace

  1. And I cried with you. thank you for the tears, and expressing so beautifully what we all feel. I get through this, knowing this, too shall end, and life will move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is good when grief finds a way out, even if it seems out of proportion with the one thing that finally breaks the dam and allows the tears to fall. Your words give us permission to grieve for the suffering in our world without leaving us in a puddle of misery. There is still work to be done and people who need us. Thank you for your tender words, Marilyn.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks very much for this, Marilyn. Blessings to you and your family during these days of revelation and renewal. . . .


    Rev. Larry Hansen

    Cana House PO Box 19509 Portland, Oregon 97280-0509 Phone: 971/322-7585 E-Mail:

    “Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and future? The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities will find no rest.” (Rumi, interp. by Daniel Ladinsky)

    On Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 1:51 PM Marilyn R. Gardner wrote:

    > Marilyn posted: ” I woke up to a cold house. Shivering despite being in a > warm robe, I knew something was wrong. The temperature gauge showed a cold > 58 and lowering. No heat came from the vents. The furnace was clearly not > functioning. “Could one more thing go wro” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Grace, Grace, God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin.
    Thank you for sharing your heart as you always do sweet Marilyn.
    How I miss ‘You.’!

    “Believing in Grace is one thing, Living I is another.”

    The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am blessed that my path for pronunciation knowledge led me to you. The truth in your words here has me nodding and silently repeating, Yes. Yes to Grace in its myriad forms, grieving being one of them. Yes, yes, yes.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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