A friend and I were in a little cabin in Tennessee on a peaceful winter day with a roaring fire blazing before us. I think I was sipping some Jack Daniels whiskey to be exact. It was a cozy and peaceful late afternoon just at sunset.
My friend handed me O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and said simply, “Here’s something for you to read.” I was prepared to further enhance my tranquility by reading the short story. I was half dozing and half awake. The more I read, the more my heart began to palpitate and I thoroughly awakened from the serenity of the moment. I finished every last word of the story and threw the book across the room saying, “Why did you give me that to read?”
I was shaken to the core of my being. Jarred to my senses. Aroused to contemplate the meaning of O’Connor’s words and to begin to read other stories and then her novels and everything else I could get my hands on about her extraordinary insight and journey.
These were my origins on the subject of grace which has been my focus for many years. O’Connor began to teach me about grace, grace in its most intense form as it occurs in the midst of suffering. I experienced a suspended moment of deliverance which has been growing since that sleepy day in Tennessee. I owe her a debt I can never repay.