Don’t get ahead of grace…

The one thing that I have found true about life is that it is unpredictable.  One minute you can feel on top of the world and the next you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders bearing down on you.  Large life changes can definitely set a flurry of these emotions into action.  Since we have moved, I have had the pleasure of being the windshield a few times, but mostly I’ve been the bug. 

Last Thursday I had an especially rough day filled with disappointment and I did what I always do when I am faced with a challenge…I phoned a nun.  If you look at my address book, it isn’t hard to do as probably a good fourth of the people in it are nuns.  The ironic thing about all of it is my love for nuns surfaced after I was received into the Episcopal faith.  Go figure.  It’s the one lasting Catholic thing about me that just won’t go away.  It also makes Grandma proud which is also another good life rule to live by ;p.

The reason why I use the ‘phone-a-nun policy’ is that nuns don’t always have the answer (no offense nun posse love you all!!!), but they have the ability to make not knowing the answer become the true answer.  It is uncanny how this happens and how it can make you turn a truly superficial feeling into a philosophical life lesson.  As I went into deep conversation with Sr. Suzanne telling her all the intricacies of why I was feeling like the bug, she was attentive in listening.  At the end, she offered a very insightful piece of advice:  “Maria, don’t get ahead of grace.”

As soon as she said this, I thought, “What is this supposed to mean?”  However, after we got off the phone, I was able to do a little reflection about it and it was probably one of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given in a long time if not ever. 

We live in a fix-it society.  Don’t believe me, turn on the t.v.  There are a million products designed to solve problems that you didn’t even know you had.  Don’t want to bend over to wash your feet?  Don’t worry there is a feet scrubber you can install in the bottom of your tub so you no longer have to worry.  Too busy to open a bottle of wine?  There is a device that requires no energy on your part and at the push of a button, the cork is out and you are enjoying your favorite pinot.  You get the point. 

I think that all of these things bleed over and have driven our personal and professional expectations to an  level.  How many times have you listened to a friend’s problems and you felt the expectation to jump in there and solve them?  How many times have you found yourself impatient when you felt that you were doing everything right, but the end result wasn’t coming soon enough?  How many times have you taken someone else’s rejection of you or your work to heart when you know that it was unmerited?  How many times have you been out with a group of people whom you felt you couldn’t measure up to in some way?  I bet the answer is way too many.  I know for me, I have become so programmed to make the impossible possible that when I can’t, it becomes devastating.  However, looking back on my life, the things that and the people I value most have all happened by the power of grace.  I didn’t go out and search for Joe.  I didn’t go out and search for my job at Get On The Bus.  I didn’t search for my family or my friends.  I didn’t even need to have a casting call for my nun posse.  They all found me.  I leave you with the words of Sr. Suzanne, “Don’t get ahead of grace.”

I hope everyone will take some time to reflect on this.  Comments are welcome.


  1. Kimberly

    hang in there, maria. we've all been the bug and anyone who denies that is being dishonest. but that's where character comes in–when people see how you un-become the bug 🙂 and you, of all people, are a master of picking yourself back up. thanks for this post. xoxo

  2. MLM

    Awesome piece of truth and advice! I agree! 🙂 Miss you! Love ya girl! 🙂

  3. Maria Costanzo Palmer

    Thanks ladies! Louie, I miss you too. I will be in the Burgh in a couple of weeks. Hope to connect. Kimberly, thanks so much for all the encouragement! You are the best Mr. M ever!!!!

  4. Jesica Arujo

    I like this weblog so much, saved to favorites. “I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.” by Dorothy Parker.


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