For a long time I’ve avoided using words like Grace and Mercy and Blessed.

They are Big Words. In my experience, Big Words can be misused, intimidating, and plain out scary.

Big Words also bring to mind God and Prayer and Things Above or Around That Are Vague and Confusing and (sometimes) Fake or Threatening.

But stuff happens. Like when I went to pick my big boy up from an after-school jumble of backpacks and cold hallways and moms whom I’ve met and greeted before, and one said hi, and this made me feel good, and the rest either completely ignored or didn’t see me – hard to tell – and I left the building feeling a bit defeated.

We are seventeen days into the New Year. A dear friend celebrates Chinese New Year, which begins on the 31st of January, and I look forward to quietly raising a glass with her from a distance. My understanding of the holiday is limited, but I’ve learned that in many Chinese homes they clean in order to “sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck.”

I think this is a brilliant idea and so… I will clean. On the 30th. In thirteen more days. Of course I’ll clean before then, but a good old house-kitchen-bathroom cleaning on the 30th will make everything better.

On the subject of stuff happening however, one thing that is happening is that I completely by accident discovered a community of women (and a few guys) about a mile down the road that comes together once-twice-three-times-or-daily to jump, run, stumble, stretch, lift, move and otherwise work their behinds off in a common space and …and…and… well, I can’t speak for anyone else but for the first time in a very long time I’m finding myself somewhat changed in the process.

I’ve been a runner – albeit a slow one – since I was fourteen years old. But I haven’t been brought – literally – to my knees to do planks, push-ups, and more – since high school. Joining a group of like-minded and searching-of-better-maybe-best men and women has been illuminating.

I can’t go to the gym every day because if I left the boys at home alone I’d probably get in trouble. But this group – these classes – has provided me with the momentum to seek and discover something within me that I thought was long gone.


My Big Words today are Work. Promise. Deliver.

Someday I’ll cry Mercy – but I’m definitely not there yet.

Someday I’d like to understand Grace – but as defined as an elegance of movement and/or something bestowed as a blessing from God- I’m not holding my breath.

Someday I may – in my more open moments – engage in feeling Blessed. Becoming holy, spiritually redeemed… this isn’t a priority for me, and I realize this may strike a chord among my believing readers… but truly… what? If I am there, I am there. If I am not, I am not. I’d rather strive for a life well-lived here and today and tomorrow than one known and unknown tomorrow….

Enjoy the day, readers. And thank you for reading.


Grace, Mercy and Burpees


3 thoughts on “Grace, Mercy and Burpees

  1. David Padilla says:

    Sara, Very good column. I skirt those terms too. I make an exception and say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. My recitation of grace on Thanksgiving is especially secular and pathetic. I am extremely grateful but I’m not sure whom I should thank. Suffice it for now to thank you for sharing your thoughts. Love, Dad

  2. paralaxvu says:

    I remember a day long ago, standing around with a few other high schoolers in your mom’s kitchen. Who knows what we were talking about? Anything and everything. But I remember this one thing: One of the boys looks at me and says, “Name one thing you can’t have too much of.” And I instantaneously said, “Grace.” Which, of course, instantaneously shut him down. I used to do that a lot to boys–shut them down–and up–with one instantaneous, dreadfully sociopathic, comment. It’s no wonder I had no dates back then. The word came to me because I was Catholic, raised in a Catholic family, going to a Catholic high school. By the middle of my first Catholic college year, grace was not something I thought much of. But now I think I know that grace is something we all can have, can feel, without ever having stepped inside a religion’s cunning doors. And it’s good. Your writing always shows your grace. It’s why I keep reading. Struggle on, sweet Sara, it–and you–are worth it.

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