Is there an intangible quality serving leaders have? What makes them do the things they do? What makes serving leadership stand out from many other styles of leadership? The answer, I believe, in a word, is Grace. No one embodied this more than my Aunt Grace.
For the past several weeks, I’ve seen so many forms of grace while visiting her at home and, finally, in the hospital. She was 93 and terminally ill. When spending time with another person at their death bed, you begin to see elements of grace throughout their lives.
The quality of grace is hard to define, but easy to see. People who have grace seem to bring a certain positive energy to their relationships with others. The more we understand grace the better we can become at serving others.
Grace is a gift from God that we are given simply because we are connected to the divine. Let’s see if I can share my thoughts on Grace in a way that helps you might find more love and joy in your life.
The first letter in grace is G. To me, the G in grace represents an attitude of gratitude and giving. These two qualities go hand and hand for serving leaders. We who choose this path of serving leadership understand that many things we are given to us come because we are grateful for what we have. Gratitude is a foundational element to a successful serving leadership.
When we are given to, we want to give to others. My Aunt Grace was always giving to others in need in the many communities around the world. She was the kind of giver I wish I could be more like. If she had two dollars she would give away one and then remark there are many people who are less fortunate than we are. She was always finding new ways to give to others. She was always grateful for whatever she had.
The second letter in grace is R. The letter R represents relationships and resilience. Successful serving leaders understand lasting relationships need to be resilient. To me, this means that we understand in serving others there will be difficult times in successful relationships. We must be resolute in our ability to work with others even when things go wrong. Grace provides us an opportunity to help others in the ways that work for them. Easy to say hard to do.
The third letter in grace is A. Grace means we have a more positive attitude towards life. As serving leaders we must aware of others’ needs. My Aunt Grace left school and her family in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania at 16 to move Detroit with her sister to help provide for her other eight brothers and sisters. Her positive attitude allowed family members to get through the most financially challenging times. Even in the final hours of her life, she was saying how wonderful her life had been, despite challenges that would have daunted others.
The fourth letter in grace is C. Grace provides the people who have it with superhuman levels of courage and compassion. These qualities help us to make a difference in the world. My Aunt Grace worked in many manual labor jobs throughout her life.
The family never had much money by most standards, but she always found ways to bring home little trinkets and treats to other family members and her nieces and nephews.
When times were tough she courageously stood by the people and what she believed in. When bad things happened in our family she would always bring compassion to our discussions.
Many of my fondest memories of Grace were talking with her about how we might help others to move ahead against the odds. She understood the role grace had in her life. She chose to extend it to others. She was a tireless champion of many causes. She was amazing, Grace.
The final letter in grace is E. The E stands for enthusiasm and engaging in others’ lives to make them better. Ask any family member about Grace and they will tell you there was never a time where she wasn’t engaged in their lives. Grace always asked penetrating questions that could make you think. This doesn’t mean she wasn’t tough. Grace provides you with the strength to be constantly evolving.
One of her favorite nephews’ birthday was this weekend. Grace was in the final hours of her life. It would have been easy to be less enthusiastic about what was going on around her. This is where Grace excels.
As Grace lay in her hospital bed she got involved in a conversation with Greg about his IPhone and music. He asked what her favorite song was. She responded with Young Love, by Sonny James. Greg quickly found it on Spotify and she proceeded to sing along with the recording for Greg’s birthday. A memory that will last forever for everyone in the room. There are no frowns as Grace leaves this world for the next. This represents the enthusiasm she brought to her life for her 93 years.
As you are reading this, I am attending her funeral services. I wanted to share it with you. For me, as a serving leader, Grace is the quality that helps us excel in serving others. We will return next week on our regular publishing schedule on Tuesday and Friday. See you here.