Andrea Bocelli led the world with Amazing Grace, alone, in front of the Duomo di Milano last Easter Sunday. His backdrop was the silent beauty of the cities around the world that showed us both how alone and how together we are.
Grace is a complex concept, both a noun and a verb; it's definition is expressed in 19 ways by Merriam-Webster. Grace sweeps upward to divine assistance and down to earth through simple kindness and thanks. In motion, grace is graceful like a dancer or athlete. Grace is beautiful, or elegant, and sometimes extraordinary like Andrea Bocelli's voice singing Amazing Grace.
Let's look with fresh eyes at leading with grace.
G for gentle strength. "I once was lost and now I'm found."
The gentle strength of grace is found; it emerges from losses and life experiences. It is not forceful, it does not need to assert power. Inside, grace is strength, grounded in the simple clarity of what's important, what is valuable, and what is true, learned by trial and error and scientific inquiry. Outside, grace is gentle, kind, and accepting, even in the face of so much happening that is not graceful and gentle.
One imagines a nurse or doctor at the bedside of a dear soul who is very ill, or a good leader calming his/her worried team, or a parent soothing a disappointed child, finding gentle strength in most difficult moments.
Leading gracefully calls us to find strength we may not have called on before. It calls us to persist as a gentle wind that blows steadily in the direction of what's important - health, family, compassion, good work - all that enables a thriving humanity. And gentle strength is needed to avoid regret and blame, and not miss what's gone. It's needed to create a good future.
R for realistic. "was blind and now I see."
Being graceful is not easy when we look into the face of harsh realities. What's real in rough times is not what we hope for, or what we want. There is a yearning to have the old normal back, the one we didn't fully appreciate. To lead with grace in rough moments is to move past our blind spots, and be with what's real, with acceptance, kindness, and gentleness.
Some of what is real is not good, but much of what we see is - teamwork, togetherness, love, sacrifice and hope for the best for everyone. The good that is real gives us more grace.
A for amazing. "twas grace that taught my heart to fear"
Challenging times walk us up to our fears, which were of course always there, waiting to be abruptly awakened by a crisis. Pandemic time deprives us of the many gifts of daily life, and brings fear that they won't come back or we will lose more.
We are reminded of the trials that many amazing ancestors transcended, including John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace in 1779. Their stories now jump out of history books with new relevance. Leading with grace in the face of fear is being amazing like many who prevailed before us.
C for courage. "and grace my fears relieved"
Courage, holding hands with fear, leads us to outgrow our fears. We will summon much personal and collective courage to recover and rebuild, to make wise decisions, to change our habits and mindsets, to stand with grace for what's valuable, what is worth building on, what is best left behind. Courage with grace will move us forward, further and faster, to a good future.
E for elevate. "how precious did that grace appear"
Whether there is a god that bestows grace, or it is the highest resonance of our collective consciousness singing through Andrea Bocelli, in grace we are elevated. We are graceful by resonating with the best of human nature, like the blue heron at the top of this piece, rising out of the water with strength to fly with amazing grace. We are graceful by expressing what is good in nature and in human nature, what is worth keeping as we begin again.
Grace is gently strong, realistic, amazing, courageous, and elevated.
Let's lead with amazing grace. How sweet the sound.
Coach Meg xo
Amazing Grace was written in the late 1700s.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.