“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.”

Ann Lamott

Grace is a puzzle, a conundrum wrapped in silk and tied with a riddle. It’s like trying to catch fog in your hands—elusive, ever-shifting. Its mystery is not easy to unravel, like a ball of yarn in the claws of an energetic kitten. I’ll confess, I don’t fully understand it. Yet, I know this: grace finds us.

It seeks us out in our hidey-holes, in our forts of solitude, in our moments of despair. It’s like a beacon in a lighthouse, guiding us to safe shores. It reaches us, irrespective of where we are. But, it doesn’t leave us there. That’s the magic of it. That’s the mystery.

Grace, when it’s at its finest, it’s about acceptance. It’s about love. It’s about embracing us, warts and all. It’s like a mother’s love for her child, unconditional, unlimited, unquestioned. It sees us, it knows us, and it loves us. For who we are. As we are.

Deep down, in the marrow of our bones, we yearn for this acceptance, this love. We crave it. It’s like a thirst that can’t be quenched, a hunger that can’t be satiated. We need it, in the same way we need air to breathe, food to sustain, water to quench.

But grace, it doesn’t stop there. It takes a step further. It’s proactive. It’s like a paramedic at the scene of an accident—immediate, urgent, vital. It’s acceptance, yes. It’s love, absolutely. But it’s also care. It’s compassion. It’s empathy. It’s about reaching out, person to person, soul to soul.

Grace, it recognizes something fundamental, something elemental. It acknowledges that nothing—absolutely nothing—is more valuable, more moral, more ethical than this: people loving and accepting each other.

This core principle of grace, it’s perfectly encapsulated in a term from South Africa: ubuntu. It’s a word, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s a philosophy. It’s a way of life. “I am because you are.”

This is the essence of grace. This is the essence of ubuntu. We need each other. We are because of each other. And that, that is all we need.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.