I have invited Rev. Lisa Koziell-Betz, Class of 2012, and long-time member of the Tree of Life community, to share her reflection, from our Pray Without Ceasing class, in response to a question on Grace. While every week participants share the most profoundly beautiful thoughts, Lisa’s sharing particularly struck me knowing her personal journey with her daughter Morgan. Morgan died at age 7 from cancer, a rare combination of Neuroblastoma and Pheochromocytoma. Lisa has often said just how many moments of Grace appeared on their journey together but it wasn’t until this reflection that I, and all of us blessed to hear, understood what she had always meant by “Grace.” Thank you, Lisa, for allowing me to share your reflection. I just know it will bless, and serve, many.
#10. Describe how Grace protects.
This answer, for me, is really abstract. A lot of “misfortune” is perception. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines misfortune as “an event or conjunction of events that causes an unfortunate or distressing result: bad luck.” There are many definitions of Grace, many of them divinely related, but the one I am referring to is reprieve, which is to give relief for a time.
As many of you have heard me say before – there were many moments of Grace in my journey with Morgan and her cancer. How can this be Grace? How can this cancer not be misfortune? Sure, losing your daughter before she is even 8 years of age is traumatic – watching her go through almost 3 years of treatment is horrific. I would not wish it on anyone. So, one can perseverate on death, cancer, chemo treatment, etc., etc., and that is not a good place to be – on all levels. Trying to control what is uncontrollable leads to failure. So, you are putting out of control feelings upon an already bad situation which leads down a very dangerous road emotionally and spiritually.
Grace is what got us though – therefore Grace protected us. I don’t even know how to describe the internal energy levels that focusing on the moments of Grace versus the angst of misfortune creates in me. It is dramatic. I get all twisted up inside if I focus on the negativity of it all. I cannot see the forest through the trees. I am constantly in a place of reaction…almost like you are constantly hot-wired to react. It is tiring and draining. Grace gives you the opportunity to step back. Look at life differently. It lets you see the good and/or beauty amongst the ugly. The energy it elicits is calming – it is the Grace of reprieve. Doesn’t change the ugly but changes the internal receptors to this concept we call life.
Soooo, I think misfortune happens to everyone but not everyone defines it as misfortune. Depending upon perspective if one chooses to look for those moments of Grace – looking for the good, the calming, the positive spirit filling energies – then, ultimately this really is not misfortune as defined in the Dictionary. This, to me, is how Grace protects.
3 responses to “Guest Blog by Lisa Koziell-Betz”
Beautifully said, my old friend. Tomorrow I join 185 volunteers to make 1300 Chemo Care packages. Throughout the planning and organizing, I have thought often of the wonderful people in my life who have been touched with Cancer, Morgan and your family on my mind a lot. Focusing on doing something positive has helped my heart feel that “reprieve”, I’m so glad you have found some of that…Love to you,
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderfully uplifting and life giving wisdom. It has enriched my perspective as I read it this morning, and led me to a place of deeper gratitude for the work of grace in my life. I send you back much love and blessing.
This reply is from Rev. Carol LaChance on my husband’s account.
Dear Lisa, What a beautiful and deeply nourishing reflection on Grace. It is true to my experience that when I can give attention to those grace-filled moments that appear during times of painful challenge, that I am calmer, more centered and able to rest in the presence of the Beloved.
Thank you for sharing such a profound testament to Grace.