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No, Grace isn’t the person I’m interviewing for this week’s post. I’m talking about the actual, metaphysical grace as a tool for connection this week.

When I was in 8th grade, I participated in confirmation class at the Republic United Church of Christ. The day came when the pastor assigned each of us in the class a word. This was a word he thought of specifically for us that we were to pray on and embed into our lives. The word he gave me was grace. At 14, I certainly didn’t know what grace was, and at 38, it’s still hard to define.

I was reminded of the word this week when it was the focus during a meditation experience. I decided to dig in a bit more deeply.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, grace is:

a : unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

Crystal clear, right?

I found the synonym discussion more relatable.

  • Disposition to show kindness and compassion
  • Benevolence and goodwill shown in broad understanding and tolerance of others

Kindness, compassion, tolerance, understanding. Those are significant words. They bring me back to the weeks of “Talk to more people, longer”.

How often have you severed a connection because of a cryptic text message? A piece of gossip? A single social media post?

Have you ever heard someone – joking or in seriousness – say “you’re dead to me”? It’s in the moments when you’ve decided to cut someone out of your life, whether they knew you were taking that action or not, that build up walls. It’s also in the moments when you’ve let a first impression turn into a last impression because you don’t offer a second chance that eliminate the potential for connection.

What if you offered a bit of grace in these circumstances? If you offered compassion instead of cynicism? Tolerance instead of judgement? Kindness instead of criticism?

Wouldn’t our world look a whole lot more connected if we could walk – and act – with grace?

I’m finally in a place to take on the word that my pastor gave me so many years ago. I guess it was worth the wait.

Writing this column for the past 42 weeks has made me realize that when we focus on something intently, we breathe life into it in a powerful way. I see people in a different way. I meet people in a different way. That’s why the concept of grace as a tool for meaningfully connecting with others fell into place so naturally as we near the final 10 weeks of this series.

What’s been the longest you’ve ever focused on a singular topic intently? If you’ve never lasted 42 weeks like I have, I invite you to start right back at the beginning and consume the content through new eyes. You can do that by binging on the content right HERE or by taking the more gradual route and signing up below to start back at week 1 and receive weekly content in your inbox.

52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections is offered by Small Town Leadership. If you would like to see how much progress you can make toward making our big world feel like a smaller place, SIGN UP to receive these articles on a weekly basis.

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Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

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