My given middle name is “Grace.”
I give myself too little grace. I’m getting better at extending grace to myself, as many of my ramblings here attest, but… I don’t embody this middle name. Not yet anyhow.
May my daughter with the same given middle name embody hers much sooner! May I help her to do so.
I met my advisor’s wife at a social event that I was helping to host a few weeks ago, a welcome event for my fellowship program. (Note that I now officially have an advisor- he said yes!) Though I have been here for over two years I have never met her before, though I’ve heard a bit about her, and a fair bit about their two young children. I introduced myself and she said “Oh yes! Sarah! I’m so glad to meet you. P talks about you.” I probably blushed. I haven’t a clue what this guy actually thinks of me… what is he saying, unedited, at his dinner table? Do I really want to know? I shudder to think what I’ve said about him from time to time. (Not giving myself much grace, I haven’t been that harsh, really.) She went on “You’re the one who had a baby your first semester. He said you’re determined. Determined. That’s what you are, that’s what he’s always saying. You’re determined!” We talked a bit about my academic journey thus far (she too is an academic) and she said “He’s right! You are determined!”
My dear friend Sam, with no prompting from me, reflecting on Caroline’s birth this afternoon, applied the exact same adjective to me. “A birth like that takes determination, Sarah. You’re determined.”
As I think about how I approach things… consistently… damn straight.
I’m not sure this is a virtue. It sure isn’t grace. But maybe it is a fitting new middle name. Maybe I should embrace it. Determination is a darn good thing in a Ph.D. program…. and in ministry. Or at least it is a utilitarian thing!
Kev saw the subject of this post and asked what the new name is. I told him. He said “For you or for Caroline?” I laughed, “For me!” I replied, “Though I suppose… it really applies to her too! Beautifully!”
May we both be determined to give ourselves, and others, grace.
(Kev also pointed out what this would mean for my initials! Too funny!)