This is an active thing, this walking towards “Graceland.” We cannot just stand still on the hot southern, sticky pavement in Memphis, Tennessee, and somehow teleport ourselves to this place of Grace.
It can however, be given to us, as a gift, as an act of mercy. We can be in a state of grace, and also offer this to others around us… we can have that opportunity, but will we extend it, will I use it… can I accept it when it is given to me?
It was a “Girl’s weekend,” and we met down in Memphis to see where Sawyer was now living with her new husband. It was an opportunity to see “Sawyer’s World” up close, and personal, and to let her show us around her new town.
We were very excited to meet up in this new city for us to explore, and participate in some brand new adventures together.
Sawyer surprised us, by purchasing tickets to go and see “Graceland.” This was the estate that Elvis Presley purchased in Tennessee, where his parents, and his wife, Priscilla, and only child, Lisa Marie would reside. There were multiple staff often on site, and a music studio was on the grounds, as well as a “Jungle Room,” and a “Meditation Garden,” and many other interesting, and unique things that we viewed, such as rolling green pastures filled with horses, and adjoining stables, and many classic cars, and motorcycles, golf carts, and the like.
This was quite the compound, and while we toured it for the next 3-4 hours, it was impactful to several of us how we mentioned that we felt a stirring of sadness while in this home.
It had a classical colonial appeal , which was a welcoming facade, and was a very well appointed house indeed. The house seemed to say “come in,” as you drew near, as if all would certainly be befriended , and hospitality would be granted, in this place.
When our tour bus entered through the lengthy cement fencing, and in past the gates, the amount of graffiti on those walls was somehow surprising to me.
I felt a yearning on them, a need for fans who visited there to have a connection to the “King” of Rock n Roll. Perhaps it felt akin to the bridge wall in Paris above the Seine, where lovers, and the broken hearted would leave locks attached , leaving parts of their hearts behind? There is a pull to go here, and connect, to recreate the sentiment of being close to someone important, to share respect, honor, and to show love for something beyond yourself.
As we moved through the rooms of Elvis’s mansion, you got a sense that a real family had lived and loved here. There had been joy, and there had been pain, loss, and also beautiful melodies were created and reverberated through these many rooms. Birthdays were celebrated, holidays happened, a baby was born, and there was a home base, and the security of a family gathering place in this estate.
History was made here.. This man Elvis, who came from humble beginnings, and had been born a twin, ended up being his parents’ only child, just like he would have an only child in Lisa, Marie, his daughter.
The interiors were opulent, and would have been seen to be extremly comfortable, and very fancy, and luxurious.
Often when Elvis traveled, he would take a stack of books with him. Apparently, he really enjoyed reading. It was intriguing to see all manner of genres that he enjoyed. There were books on various religions, and philosophies. A bible was among one of the books that he read. The tour explained that gospel music was some of the favorite songs that he enjoyed singing.
It seemed to me, that this man was searching for meaning in his life, as I think a lot of us are, for a sense of belonging, wondering what we are here for, and will we find “grace” extended to us when we get there?
This walking toward “Graceland” raised an epiphany in me. I live in Graceland….Because of Jesus Christ, and his death on the cross, I live here… in this place.
He was gracious to me, and forgave me of my multitude of shortcomings, sins, so that I can go to be with him in heaven some day. That’s “amazing grace.”
it says in Ephesians 2:8….
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
It’s all grace.. every single last drop of it, it’s like a overflowing spoonful of thick liquid honey that drops into your tea, and sweetens every taste. It never runs out.Its sweeter than “sweet tea, which is very sweet. There is nothing that I can do to deserve it, but it beckons me to grab hold of it, every waking second of every day. What if I lived with this notion of overflowing grace ever in front of me?.. It tantalizes me to live here is n this thought process…..it’s fantastic to me…
I get to live in Graceland every day of my life. I don’t need a mansion, (although, I wouldn’t refuse one,) but I am rich, beyond what I deserve because of this…. this grace in my life.
This just makes me smile. I wondered, did Elvis get that he lived here too. Did he know that it was a gift for him to reach out and grab ahold of? …this grace.. that was free…? I really hope so,,, cuz I bet he rocks heaven with concerts and acoustics bouncing off the clouds …. I will look forward to him leading the singing…
He was revered as the King of Rock and Roll, and wandering through the museum, and seeing his “pink Cadillac,” and many other classic cars, you couldn’t help but feel like he lived a charmed life. He appeared to have it all. Adoring fans, a family that loved him, and a wonderful private place to call home.
We walked through the meditation garden, and I couldn’t help but be struck by the tomb stones that lay there. His Mother, and Father, Grandmother and Grandfather, his brother, and of course, the King himself. There was a peaceful pond, with an eternal flame burning comfort at the head of the graves.
On his Father, Vernon’s tomb, there was an inscription,
“Love is patient and endureth all things”
It felt like this reminder was for me… It really spoke to me, in so many ways.. Love offers grace… at all times, through all things.
I have withheld grace from others before. I have not wanted to forgive, I have wanted to stay wounded, to huddle myself away, and hold tightly to my “grace card,” like it hadn’t already been extended to me multiple times..
I wasn’t ready… The thing is.. grace is meant to be shared, it just is… Turns out.. I grow in grace when I offer it. It’s a big, bubbling efforescent bubble bath that is always warm and soothing, with a heavenly scent that tickles my nose.
“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” …2 Peter3:18
So…turns out that growing in grace takes active participation from the grace recipient.
With so much going on in our turbulent, ever changing , full of commotion world, I hope I won’t let the fear, hatred, and unrest, eclipse what I know to be real. Love trumps hate, and “perfect love does indeed cast out fear.”
When we let grace flow out of us, instead of pointing a crooked finger at the accused, it makes a difference… a good one…
I like Graceland… I want it to be imprinted upon the fabric of my life…because I do acknowledge that ” to much that has been given.. much is required.” I have been given ever so much grace… there is no way I cannot give it to another… love and grace.. Its better than apple pie and ice cream, a burger and fries, pancakes with fresh rich maple syrup, strawberries and chocolate..
Oh boy… I just made my taste buds perk up… I’ll have another big serving of “grace” please…