Several months ago, I was listening to Marc Maron interview Glenn Close for his podcast. It was fascinating on many levels — for example, who knew that the actress was raised in a religious cult?
One story, in particular, has stuck with me. As a young address, Close was an understudy looking to make her Broadway debut. One particular Saturday, the director, Hal Prince, told her that he was thinking of letting the leading lady go and was going to make his decision after the matinee. After the performance, he decided to fire the actress and elevate Close into the starring role, which she would be performing later that night.
About thirty minutes before showtime, a very nervous Close received a note that read. “It’s a tradition in the British theatre for one leading lady to welcome the next. I welcome you. Be brave and strong.”
That actress, Mary Ure, had just been fired. Yet she had the grace to write a note to the young woman who would now replace her. Ure would never again appear on Broadway, dying tragically a year later at the age of 42.
Grace, to me, is one of the purest and most divine acts we as humans can bestow upon one another.
It is a gift – often not deserved and never requested. There is no expectation of reciprocity or any benefit really at all.
While I might consider myself generally to be a gracious person, I can’t imagine performing an act of grace, the likes of Ms. Ure.
It would require in our darkest times to rise above our own bitterness and loss and to offer comfort and encouragement to someone who has gained from that very misfortune.
Just imagine, though, if we had just little bit more of that kind of grace in our world – where more at least aspired to this level of magnanimity.