The Paranoid Writer

When Life Gets in the Way

State of Grace

Is it possible that someone so evil and so hypocritical could have some type of saving grace inside them?

That was a question I asked my students after reading “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor. It’s a religious story in which a mean, hypocritical grandmother reaches out to save the man who is about to kill her. In that gesture is in act of Grace. At least, that is what O’Connor said in an essay that followed the story.

I hated this story when I first taught it about five years ago because I couldn’t believe that someone so mean, like the grandmother, could have God inside her. Oh yeah, that’s a bit pessimistic and judgmental. Oops.

Now, I want to believe that everyone has God/Grace/Whatever You Want to Call It inside them. People do have the ability to change, to become better. I have to hope that people have grace or kindness in them because without hope, I don’t want to go to the side of pessimism again. I have to hope there is some type of kindness in people even when they do not see it.

In a previous life when I was a paralegal and putting myself through school, I worked for two attorneys that were awful people. This time period was before Anita Hill and the acknowledgement of sexual discrimination. One attorney didn’t scare me that much because all he was after was sex and degrading women, and I could ward off his advances. The other one terrified me.

He claimed he was some Christian and was active in his church and taught Bible classes. At the office, he was abusive. I often wondered how such a hypocritical person could practice a religion that teaches peace and yet do the opposite. I often wondered if this person would ever change. Now, I have to hope that there is some saving grace in this person, really both of them.

There’s good in people, but sometimes it just takes a life-changing incident, like the grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” for the good to come out. Sometimes, it never comes out or just comes through in small slits until their walls come up again.

Spring is always a time of rebirth for me. The sun comes out, finally, and the flowers bloom until the first, heavy heat wave comes. Yes, I’m in Texas. I’d like to open my eyes a little more, slow down, and look for the acts of kindness around me and the goodness of people.

Who knows? Perhaps some of that kindness and goodness in people will rub off on me. I can only hope. Right?



April 11th, 2012 Posted by | State of Grace | no comments

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