With a Little Help from Grace
By Sulana Stone
If you’re beating yourself up over some mistake, this story might encourage you to take it easier on yourself—forever!
It’s the 18th century. Slave running is a booming industry for England. British ships embark on a three-legged journey loaded with trinkets, liquor, weapons and cloth. First stop, Africa. The goods are traded for the “treasures” of African tribal chiefs: native men and women captured in wars against other tribes.
Like canned sardines, the “human cargo” is packed into the bowels of ships headed to the New World. Arriving in the Americas, slaves are exchanged for sugar and molasses. Completing the voyage, ships return to England with ingredients destined to be made into rum.
John Newton is one mean sailor dude working on a slave ship. John’s so vicious that even hardened seamen avoid him. During one ocean crossing, a violent storm batters his waterlogged vessel for 11 days. When it appears all will perish, John prays, “Lord have mercy upon us.” Later he records in his journal that after making his soulful request, he experiences a “great deliverance.” Against all odds, his ship doesn’t sink.
Soon John becomes captain of his own slave ship, but finds himself treating his “live cargo” better than most slave traders. Eventually, John leaves the slave trade business totally, unable to stomach its inhumanity.
The Alchemy of Grace
Fast forward a few years. John’s life has changed radically. The former slave trader is an anti-slavery activist! And minister! And composer of hymns!
In what could be the world’s most famous hymn, “Amazing Grace,” John tells how this Compassionate Energy changed his life:
“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.”
Can Anyone Receive Grace?
Webster’s Dictionary defines Grace as “unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or renewal.” Being deeply touched by John’s experience, I want to know if anyone can request and receive Grace.
To find out, I ask Grace to reveal how She works. I tell this Liberating Kindness of my desire to assist folks to be happier. Will Grace help people stop being so hard on themselves? I promise to share whatever message She gives me.
One day after my heartfelt request, Grace answers me—at my pizza job!
I deliver pizzas in the evening. Because my route is in a rural area, I rack up lots of mileage. Minimum wage and tips pay for my rent and the high amount of gas I use for the job.
‘Twas a Most Peculiar Night
One evening, my tips take a nosedive. Gratuities range from nothing to a high of two bucks. The first delivery sets the tone for the night. I’m headed to a home inside a gated community. This night, the electronic gate won’t open. No one can drive in or out. When the teenager from the family who ordered the pizzas reaches me on foot, he brings a pre-written check for the exact amount of the meal. At the next stop, a sweet woman keeps me waiting for ten minutes while she locates her “lost” purse—then barely scrapes together enough cash to pay for her dinner!
The entire evening has a bizarre bent. And the outrageously low or non-existent tips make the night particularly distressing.
Making a Breakthrough
Feeling desperate for money, I scream, “God, something’s gotta give!” This is my variation on John Newton’s prayer, “Lord have mercy upon us.” After my outburst, I consider changing jobs. Then I decide to change my attitude instead.
I choose not to be a victim of the circumstances. Instead, I elect to enjoy the evening—and be kind to my customers—no matter what happens. I remind myself of the facts of my life: even in the most difficult times, my needs have always been provided for.
Soon my body begins vibrating with peace. The anxiety over making a few more dollars dissolves. And I have fun with the rest of the people I meet that evening.
I wish I could say that the tips get better. But they don’t. Yet, as I embrace and enjoy each encounter, I feel deeply supported.
When the time comes to count the evening’s take, I would have been overjoyed to just make $10. At least that would cover gas for my truck. The tips had been worse than dismal and twice I got stiffed. So, reluctantly I count my meager earnings. … Then recount. … And then recount. I can’t believe it, but I’m holding $54 in my hand! With nine deliveries, that averages out to $6 a customer. I didn’t get even one $6 tip, much less nine of them! What happened?
Driving home, I ponder this extraordinary outcome. Then it dawns on me that the extra money—as well as the peaceful vibrations and inner support came through Grace. The Miracle Worker responded to my wanting to know how Grace works—and answered my “prayer” for transformation.
Invite Grace to Assist You
I realize that Grace is an alive, intelligent energy! And that the purpose of Grace is to regenerate our spirits. Anyone can communicate with this Divine Transformer. The connection is made through the honest, raw intentions of our hearts.
This Alchemical Power can bring about sudden change, like putting money in a wallet. And Grace can also take Her own mysterious, sweet time in creating renewal.
In John Newton’s case, She gently awakened his humanity over the years. And Grace inspired him to write a song with a potent message for the rest of us: No matter what “mistake” we’ve made—no matter how “wretched” we’ve been—Grace is available to anyone who asks for assistance and is open to receive.
If you’re ready to leave the past behind, why not invite in Grace to assist you? Welcome this Revitalizing Force when She shows up to lighten your load. And be alert—Her form and timing might be most unexpected!