Sweet River Grace

                                                            lyrics here

             My dear friends Lindalou and Michael Ryge jokingly refer to this as my “break up” song. They think it’s endearingly amusing because they are childhood friends of my beloved wife. Sabrina and I have been steadfastly together since Christ left Chicago. So have Lindalou and Michael. So they chuckle about my writing a break up song.  So much for writing what you know.


But it’s also a song about grace, which is a bit of magical thinking that I’ve been in touch with since my childhood Catholocism. And like much from those formative years, it is a concept that has stayed with me. “ You can take the boy out of the church, but you can’t…”


When I call it magical thinking, please don’t take that in the usual way. Magical thinking is most often referenced as the wishful thoughts of an immature mind. And you’d be welcome to think that of me, because to me, grace is more than just a concept. It’s a real thing. It really can come to your door. With or without faith. (Though I prefer faith in large doses, it’s not mandatory. You’re mileage may vary)


In my youth, grace was purely conceptual. It had not come to my door because I didn’t really have a need for it then. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I experienced any significant suffering. I didn't recognize grace for what it was until finally came. Like so many things, grace is worth the waiting for. I won’t indulge in my particular story of that suffering. Most everybody has that story to tell. Nothing special about it, really.


But as I write this,  the vigil for a little grace is in full swing on a national level.  Our whole country seems awash in suffering, wounded by unleashed hatred, bigotry, misogyny, narrow mindedness. We could use a river of grace to come along and wash us away to a more restful place.  And it doesn’t appear that we should be expecting grace to show up at our door any time soon. Instead, I think we have to prepare a place for her, and be patient.


One of my favorite writer’s is also a local hero where I live. I have found deep wisdom and honesty in so much of what Anne LaMott has written. My favorite quote of hers is just three words:


“Grace bats last.”