Grace is amazing.
I have been called amazing, but I have never been called graceful. In fact, the sentence in which I was described as amazing was mostly likely “she has an amazing lack of grace.”
And I’m not talking about the kind of Godly grace you may be thinking about. Almost every preacher-type individual I’ve met has told me that I seemed to have needed and received a lot of that.
I’m talking about the kind that helps you walk and chew gum at the same time.
I am missing that gene.
I found that out in the most public way many years ago when, in the sixth grade, I was trying out for seventh grade cheerleader in the cavernous echoing gym at Valley View school in front of the entire student body, who were also the electors. In front of every person I went to school with I did a cheer I remember to this day, which is roughly 40-ish years later.
It went like this:
Clap your hands, now,
Clap, clap, clap your hands (at which point the Cheerleader hopefuls would be expected to clap, clap, clap their hands)
Stomp, stomp, stomp your feet (at which point the cheerleader hopeful would be expected to stomp, stomp, stomp those feet)
Clap your hands (clap, clap, clap)
Stomp your feet (stomp, stomp, stomp)
Iowa Park Hawks can’t be beat.
This was my tryout cheer in front of the entire student body on that fateful Friday afternoon.
I got the words perfect, but I stomped when I should have clapped and clapped when I should have stomped, and actually asked to start over.
I finished the second try successfully, but with markedly less enthusiasm. Coincidentally, I was not a seventh grade cheerleader.
My lone strength was that I have a voice that carries very far, a point made when I was eight years old by some well-meaning Camp Fire Leaders. That alone was enough to get me alternate.
However all of my friends made the squad and never, ever forgot the order in which you should stomp and clap. It was an important learning moment, and I can live with that. I may have no grace, but I am a pretty good cautionary tale, it turns out.
I am not a graceful human being and there are hundreds more stories to back me up including that time I broke my nose on a rollaway trash dumpster a few years ago and the scar I still bear on my butt from sitting on a hot curling iron in the seventh grade.
The most recent story came just last week.
I was wearing a dress, and those who know me best understand that alone would be the unicorn of my year.
However after calling on some of my advertising clients I stopped and grabbed snackies for the office. Those snackies were a gigantic tea for myself, a frozen drink and some snacks for my co-workers. Being a woman, I had calculated the likelihood of getting everything – including my unnecessarily large hobo bag – from the car and up the stairs to the office in one trip.
I was doing great until grace took a smoke break and I caught my sandal on the concrete step.
I fell face forward, slowly enough to pivot onto the unnecessarily large purse, crushing my cup and causing the tea to literally cry a river with lemon wedge stones. I managed to hold the frozen drink up like it would be the last thing to go under in case of quick sand. The snacks were possibly kind of crushed, but edible. My knee, shin, pinky toe and pride were mildly damaged but recoverable when I realized my business end was pointed at a vacant building.
Sort of what it looked like, but not really.
I have several friends who have a morbid obsession with people falling and so, of course, I texted them with the big news in Iowa Park, which was me flailing on a downtown sidewalk. Among their responses that are suitable for print include:
“Thank the lord I just peed.”
“I gotta go potty”
“I can’t breathe”
Several sent Gifs of a model on the catwalk falling into the swimming pool, an empathetic reminder that at least models look really good when they are falling in public.
But I made them happy, and I made me happy.
I realized in this moment of complete social shame that A) we seem to go to the bathroom a lot, don’t we? And, B) I was not put on this earth to be on a catwalk; or wear dresses, probably; or, to carry a large hobo bag and a huge drink in the same hand.
I was put here to laugh, and mostly with my closest friends. So with their blessing ( I have it ) I share it with you, so that we all know that we are human and we aren’t the only one with whatever just happened to us. And, whatever happens in your day, there is always grace of one sort or another even if your claps and stomps don’t add up.
Also, it serves as a stern reminder of why it is a good idea to wear underwear. But probably just wearing pants is a safer bet and easier on the knees.
I borrowed this from a website I follow because it pretty much summed it up. Check out www.queenofyourownlife.com!