Living in a Cloud of Grace

by Leslie Sann

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.
– Brother David Steindl-Rast

I recently took a trip to California to visit with dear friends and also to attend a conference. The trip unfolded under a cloud of grace. Even with the two hour delay leaving Chicago, the trip was near impeccable. I was able to get early check-in, late check out at the hotel. They waived the recreation fee add-on for services I wasn’t going to be using.

The over-all experience was lovely. Some had to do with my attitude. The two-hour delay didn’t make me grumpy. I was grateful I wasn’t sitting on the plane. At the end of my conference, I planned to visit with friends. The friend picking me up was late. That didn’t bother me either because I was able to sit in the lobby, in relative quiet, and charge my almost dead phone.

All was unfolding in a cloud of grace mostly due to how I was relating to my situation. I was finding moments of gratitude, ways to appreciate, focus of calm and quiet in the midsts of things doing what they were doing, circumstances that were out of my control.

And then it was time to travel home. I landed in Chicago.

It had been a long day. My friend and I had done a fun, crazy thing. That morning we left Ojai at 5 AM in order to get me to the San Francisco airport at 12:30PM. My flight was at 2:15PM. The flight left on time. It landed early. Excited, I arrived at the curb five minutes before the bus to take me to my car was scheduled to arrive. This was a happy moment because it seemed I would get home a half an hour earlier than anticipated.

The bus never showed up.

The cloud of grace disintegrated.

Not for any other reason than I was tired. Now my circumstances were disturbing me. I was choosing to be grumpy.

Life is like that. The issue isn’t the issue. The issue is how I am relating to the issue. At the beginning of my trip I was sourcing from gratitude. Gratitude led to a cloud of grace and ease. A late departure from Chicago, a late pick-up at the hotel, no problem.

At the end of the six-day trip, and the end of a 7 ½ hour drive plus an almost 2 hour wait in the terminal plus a 4 ½ hour flight, now weary, led me to relating to my outer circumstances as if they were a problem. Whaaa! Where is the bus? I want to go home! Who is to blame for thwarting my plans?

The experience of our lives has little to do with our circumstances and almost everything to do with our attitude. I have learned, and keep discovering, that choosing an attitude of gratitude will lift me out of the grumps into a cloud of grace every time.

Perhaps this power move will lift you too.