Grace in a Box


I do not go to church often because I don’t seem to find God there. I find Him at the beach, I think we are kindred spirits. I also find him at Holy Cross Abbey during silent monsatic retreats. Some years ago, I discovered during a retreat, that God comes to you. Indeed, He does.

I attend these retreats not because I’m a religious person, but because I’m a spiritual person, and sometimes I need to reset. I go to ground myself. Re-center. I go to dig deep and find the reservoirs of grace and forgiveness and loving kindness that I have buried deep in me. I go to meditate. To still my thoughts and to practice Being Here Now. Each time I go, I find that God does come to me.

I’ve been struggling to find Grace. I gravitate towards people who seem to have an inherent baseline of grace in their DNA. I have an inherent baseline of impulsivity and absurdity. So I am always working on grace. Practicing grace. Remembering to invite grace to be my friend and come to happy hour with me.

On this retreat, God came to me, and brought me grace. Meet Grace. This is what she looks like today:

See, I recently had to put my 20-year-old cat down. It was the most traumatic decision of my life. I never wanted to be put in that position again, to have to decide to take a life even when I knew intellectualy it was the right thing to do. La Chica, however, thinks I’m much more resilient than I really am, and has been begging for another cat. The Boy only grunts these days, and he too grunts his agreement. I stood firm, No cats.

Then, after hours of hiking, hours of sitting by the Shenandoah River, hours of reading, hours of meditating, all in silence, a fellow retreatant pops up and asks, “Want a kitten?” I had been looking for God, and once again, God came to me.

This was the cutest, cuddliest, meowiest kitten ever. She seemed about 6 weeks old, and starving. She was found in a bucket in a horse stall in an abandoned barn. There were no signs of her mother or siblings. The foxes would surely feast on her soon. I explained why I couldn’t take the kitten, but we both felt bad returning her to the barn and to an almost certain fate. We decided to hold on to her for a bit and ask the monks what we should do.

As we walked, I asked the retreatant her name, “I’m Grace,” she said. Well, that did it. I’m a big believer in signs, and a woman named Grace offering me a kitten in a place that is sacred to me cannot be ignored. You don’t just turn down the gift of Grace.

So my heart was torn. I melted for this cat. Yet I didn’t want to be put in the position to potentially put another pet down again. I realized that fear was living 12 years from now, and I needed to Be Here Now. The next right thing was to bring the cat home. Today is what I have, and I was literally holding Grace in my hands, and Grace was meowing at me.

On this retreat, I was reminded about many things through meditation, reading, and Father James. I was reminded about unconditional/conditional love, trust, faith, empathy, being human. About enjoying moments and people and things for the value of those moments and people and things, and not for an end goal or future outcome. Those were all wonderful and timely reminders. But as I sat in those, I knew God had not come quite yet, until she did.

I came looking for God and Grace. They both came to me in their own time, as they always do. And Grace came home in a box.

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13 Responses to Grace in a Box

  1. It’s always good to find grace! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen Lanser says:

    My heart is both aching and smiling with you on so many levels! I had to make the same tough decision with my 15 years old Skruffi … and … it’s still hard …ached… kittens arduous so filled with grace. You have me rethinking my firm stand on no. Wishing you much joy as you share precious moments of/with Grace.


    • Karen Lanser says:

      Well … my autocorrect sure had fun with my post!! Sheeeesh.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I’m so sorry for your loss. Yes, it is still hard, and still aches. And speaks to the love you shared. My daughter still thinks of our old cat, Snoopy, and has rituals to keep her alive in our hearts. In fact, though she loves having Grace, she made sure to point out half her heart still belongs to Snoopy. I honestly did not think I would ever have another pet, it was quite literally so traumatizing for me. But this felt like the Next Right Thing, so we’re going with it and hoping the vet gives us a clean bill of health tomorrow! I hope through time you do your Next Right Things, and what is best for you! Thank you for reading, and thank you even more for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lori Cassel says:

    LOVE this article. As you well know, I am big on “GRACE” too and am so glad you are still finding it and God when you need them most! Love you, girl!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every. Single. Time. I think of Grace/put on my temporary tat, I think of you. I think of how I wish I could embrace Grace as easily and naturally as you do. I’m working on it 🙂 I love you and miss you!


  4. amyreneebrooks says:

    When you’re open to signs, they pop up everywhere. Love it! #grace

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nora Jessome says:

    I agree with Amy. The are always signs, we need to be open to them. This was meant to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I agree! I had absolutely no plans to ever have another pet in my life, I was actually getting excited at the thought of one less thing to care for! Alas, life has other plans for me. Thank God this is a cute one. Only cute ones gets a pass for pooping on my floor. It’s like raising a baby all over again…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring post.


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