Go Gracefully

I have a dear friend who has been a Servite sister for many decades.  Last week she mentioned in passing that in her community they have a tradition that she called “Go gracefully.”  It means that before someone goes on a trip she gets everything done ahead of time.  Laundry is done, suitcase packed, driving directions printed off or boarding pass ready.   “Go Gracefully” means that the night before the trip or the morning of the excursion, there is a peaceful readiness about everything and no last-minute panic.

I have thought of that a number of times in the days since I have seen her and pondered what a gentle and sensible tradition that is.  When we are running around excitedly trying to get our last-minute things done, our urgency is imposed on everyone around us.  My panic becomes the prominent emotion in the house.  My problem becomes everyone else’s problem.

It’s bad enough in a family, but if I project that kind of alarming behavior on a whole community of people, I can create quite a disturbance simply because I did not plan ahead.  What a sensible tradition for people who live in community – and for the rest of us!

I even think about workplace panic.  If I have a big meeting that I am procrastinating preparing for, my last minute fear and anxiety will fill the office and disturb my colleagues.  My disquiet will seep into those around me at work or at home.

This is a good time of year for all of us to remember to go gracefully.  It is a special way we can love those around us by remaining at peace and turning our fretting over to our loving God.

“The LORD will guard your coming and going both now and forever.”Psalm 121

Image by wwarby under Creative Commons license.



  1. Thank you, Maureen. Going Gracefully is my goal. I am picturing you gliding silently through the preparations, without stirring all those around you. I will put my best effort into it!

  2. Perfect column for me, also! Now I want to put all these wonderful suggestions into action. How I,too, would love to “Go gracefully.”
    I will have to remember the words of Psalm 121.
    “The Lord will guard your coming and your going both now and forever.”

  3. This article pointed out to me that I probably drive eveyone nuts with my “stuff”. Although I am not a last minute person, I am a belt and suspenders type of girl. This causes me to double and triple check my lists, my bags, etc. (I’m thinking of a phone charger that caused me to weed through a neatly pack bag, pre-trip.) I think better lists will help me to go gracefully on my next trip.

  4. Amen to this lovely post. Over the years, my one pre-trip lists have multiplied to include what to pack (clothing), what to pack (computer equipment), and what to do so that my home is tidy before I leave so that it’s welcoming when I return. Getting all this accomplished by early evening on the day before I leave makes for much more calm.

    • It’s true, Meredith. I used to travel enough that I left a suitcase sort of semi-packed with extra toothbrush, PJ’s etc. But now the complications of life mean phone and computer cords, rechargers and often laptops can’t be pre-packed, so I can’t just have it ready like I did before. But yes, getting the house ready for our return is a compassionate gesture to ourselves! Thanks!

  5. Thank you so much, Maureen.It`s as though your post was neant for me: because in school nuns were always telling me “go gracefully”! meaning “don`t slouch! walk with your head up!”. Now I see, it also means “look ahead”.
    I am a last minute doer,so I`m often late, look sheepish, and say lamely “sorry, my train had a puncture!”From now on, it`s consideration for others first. I could do with the ensueing peace too.


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