Likewise, attending the local Memorial Day services, I could not help but feel proud for those who not only gave their lives for our well-being, but for those that honor the fallen so gracefully — through babies crying and lightning flashing — and a small community that shows up in great numbers regardless of the impending storm.
This is what we call civilization, pursuing the arts and respecting the dead.
I’d like to presume that civilization is part of God’s plan, because otherwise we’d have to go back to square one, and surely, we can’t all be wrong about that one. But while grace is what we all aim for in our arts and prayers, perhaps arts and prayers alone are all that matters. Maybe grace is just like sugar; it helps the medicine go down but it also rots our teeth and fattens our bodies with empty calories. Maybe sometimes we put too much importance on grace. Maybe sometimes we should try to avoid the sugar.
Grace is elegant. Grace is polished. It is refined and symmetrical, much like sugar. And yes, we can say God created sugar, but God also created the lemon.
Earth as we found it, life as we know it, they are neither elegant nor polished, refined nor symmetrical. Though we spend most of our lives pretending to clean it all up, everything is a chaotic maelstrom of a mess, and every microscope and every telescope will prove that there’s much more to this conglomeration than meets the eye.
So why do we kid ourselves with this notion of grace?
We choose political figures not for their lack of failures but for their gracefulness in overcoming those failures. We look at the polish of their fingernails, the way their hair lines up with their ears, the way they look in a suit, the way a wife knows her place. Intelligence and statesmanship remain as afterthoughts.