To finish off 2015 and to roll right into 2016, I’ve been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Though there are some things I disagree with her and many I do, one line really stood out for me: going through horror with grace.

That phrase made me stop reading. I halted dead in my tracks and stared at those words. Granted, this is  not something a writer wants his or her reader to do. But there are exceptions and this is one of them. The phrase reached out of the book and grabbed me by the throat. I had to pause and consider the deep meaning behind those five words.

Nothing I have read—outside of the Bible—has explained the human condition so succinctly. Replace the word “with” with “without” and you have the two sides of the human coin.

Have you ever seen a person go through horror without grace?

  • The worker who does enough to just get by, but yells discrimination when their position is terminated.
  • The f-bombing college student who gets offended by anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
  • The politician who lashes out when their sin has been made public.
  • The athlete who cries foul when the team won’t give an extra $10 million on a $50 million contract.

Granted these examples are not what most people would call true life horror, but it could be for the person going through it. Often those who experience horror without grace develop bitterness, anger, hatred, selfishness, ingratitude, envy, and so forth. They live in misery.

So what about the folks who go through horror WITH grace. Like:

  • The parents who forgive the drunk driver who wrecked into their daughter’s car and killed her.
  • The soldier who returns from combat and gives his medal to the parents of the man who gave his life to save him.
  • The grieving family who supports the transplant patient who received their murdered son’s lung.
  • The worker suffering under an exasperating boss, but still excels at her job well above the minimum requirements and makes the boss look great.

2016 is going to be a watershed year in many ways. And many of those many ways will not be pleasant. Some of the horror will be personal. Some of it will be local. More will be national and international. Few if anybody will survive 2016 without living through a tough period, a time of horror, a phase of discontent, a season of agony. Whether you deal with these times with or without grace will determine your peace of heart.

Do you foresee a time of horror in your own life? How will you respond to the horror you will face in the upcoming twelve months?