“Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good, but graciously to know I am no better.”
One of my resolutions this year was to cultivate graciousness. And I discovered that when you hope for the resolve to pursue something you will almost immediately be tested. It's like praying for patience- something I have learned never to do. Am I growing in patience? I think I must be because I haven't killed anyone yet.
The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines graciousness thus:
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French gracieus, from Latin gratiosus enjoying favor, agreeable, from gratia
1 a obsolete : GODLY b archaic : PLEASING, ACCEPTABLE
2 a : marked by kindness and courtesy b : GRACEFUL c : marked by tact and delicacy : URBANE d : characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit, and the tasteful leisure of wealth and good breeding
3 : MERCIFUL, COMPASSIONATE -- used conventionally of royalty and high nobility
Notice graciousness as a synonym for godly has become obsolete. Indeed.
Sometimes it is easier to define something by what it is not. Graciousness is not:
7. Arrogant (hence my problem)
This poem, if you can possibly get past the word "Tolerance", yes, I know it's hard expresses graciousness well.
The Graciousness of Tolerance
By Sui Shihuan
When the opinions of others differ from yours,
When being criticised,
When your weaknesses are being pointed out,
When the actions and words of others do not agree with what you are used to,
When your suggestions are voided,
When others make mistakes,
When being misunderstood,
When being envied,
When being neglected,
The graciousness of tolerance will untie the knots in your mind.
When the thought of gracious tolerance arises,
Everything seems to have never happened before.
It vaporises, within a second as though it had never existed.