Read Beneficence

Grace is woven throughout this story, a sort of prose poem. With a twist of guilt I turned down the corner of some pages, just the very tip, so I didn’t leave the library book truly dog-eared, but now I can’t find many of them.

There’s the physical grace of Tup Senter, his long legs, his smile that “flashes like a light. Like a spark from that fire inside he stokes so hot.” His children have it, too, perhaps “ignited by Tup, like sparks jumping across gaps in a wildfire.”

There’s also God’s grace, so hard for this family to acknowledge after the terrible tragedy at the heart of the novel. Dodie, the daughter, resists her father’s message that there’s no choice but to believe in God. “Daddy says that God doesn’t pay attention to each one of us. That he gave us this grace, and it is up to us to be human inside of it.”

I’m puzzling what this means. Tup says suffering is part of “‘the great gift,'” that heaven is “here with us now.” So, grace isn’t a panacea. It’s not some soft cloth that wipes away mess. It’s not a bucket lowered down from a helicopter to save someone lost at sea. It’s a bubble, surrounding us. Like a womb full of amniotic fluid? It’s a state. State of grace–condition of being free from sin, says my dictionary. But not that. It’s more of a place.

Lots more to consider.

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