I woke today in the shadow of sad news.  The passing of Robin Williams, symbolic of the silent suffering and broken heartedness in our world, weighed heavy in my heart.  And —

The scents and sounds of this new day also made my heart leap.

So I gathered myself and with my dog Stella, happily hiked to the bank and then the coffee shop where I had visions of writing in the cool shaded morning hours and maybe sketching concepts for my next painting.

I wanted to write about grace.

I wanted to express the nature of grace as a door that is opened for us — and we are carried through it.


I settled with Stella at my feet, drifting peacefully through layers of time and space, taking my pen with me.

Away from the concrete.  Away from the street noise.  Beyond the voice next to me on the phone.  And —

The approach of two lively leashes.

Stella’s response, guttural and instantaneous —

Soaked me with coffee and dragged me (and our tables and chairs) into an unwelcome state demanding my immediate attention.

I met the moment and its immediacy, along with the dogs and their owners, with my own response —

Heart-pounding alarm.

Spontaneous apologetic gathering in.

Muddled clean up and casual explanations offered for the unfortunate event.

Failed attempt to salvage the vision I had for the morning.

We moved on and I was not happy.  I was mad at my companion and I told her so.

So much for grace, I thought.

And then —

So much for grace

I felt.

Doors of grace are not necessarily peaceful or welcomed.  Perhaps more often than not they do hit us like the crushing departure of love and laughter — or the dog that upends your vision of the perfect morning.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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