Recently a friend asked me for my definition of grace. Before then I’d never really put much thought into the word, having filed it somewhere in a dusty brain folder under the category Vague Words That Might Have to Do with Religion.
Days after her question, though, I listened to a podcast featuring Dr. Zach Bush that got me thinking about grace in a much deeper way. Dr. Bush conducts medical research on the human body’s microbiome, the genetic material of all the microbes—vital bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses—that live on and inside the human body.
In the episode, Dr. Bush compared the human body to Mother Earth. He explained that when we give the planet even a slight reprieve from things like pollutants (a result we’re witnessing while much of the world has been on stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus), Earth quickly regenerates and mends. Likewise, he said, when we simply give our bodies what they naturally want—whole food, sunshine, sleep—and remove toxins, they too are incredibly efficient at fixing injury and even chronic illness.
“Suddenly decades of damage is reversed in hours, weeks and months,” he said. “That’s grace at the cellular level.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Then, in unexpected synchronicity, Bainbridge Island magazine contributor (and one of my besties) George Soltes told me that lately he’d also been chewing on the notion of second chances.
While writing the feature story on Erik Lindbergh (“Rocket Man”), George was taken with Lindbergh’s remarkable physical recovery from debilitating illness. He was also touched that Lindbergh had the courage to reclaim his family’s legacy of extraordinary flight, parlaying it into a second chance for the X Prize. Likewise, in the Buzz section, writer Christy Carley introduces us to Lori Blevins-Schilling, who used her own tragedy to bring art as therapy to our community (“HeArt and Soul”). Despite hardship and loss, neither Lindbergh nor Blevins-Schilling became stuck.
As we navigate these extraordinary times, it’s this that gives me the most hope: We have the opportunity to rewrite our story, to have a hand in how things turn out. We’ll get to choose how we emerge post-pandemic, what we’ll hold onto, and what we’ll decide was broken and no longer serves us. We can always get better. This, to me, is grace.
— Alli Schuchman, Editor
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