▶ Watch Video: Faith Salie’s Word of the Year: “Grace”

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Year is “vaccine”; for the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s “vax.” Those are solid choices – vaccines are a game-changer. But for a word nerd like me, there’s not a lot to dig into with “vaccine.”

The word I can really use a shot of is “grace.”

I’ve heard people using the word grace more than ever this past year.

When I was growing up, grace (to me) either meant the Christian definition – A favor from God that is spontaneous and undeserved – or it referred to my Great-aunt Grace, who collected frogs and bourbon.

Today, folks are using it to mean so many things: not just elegance of movement or a blessing before a meal, but when someone says, “I need grace” or “Let’s show some grace,” it means let’s be patient, let’s be forgiving, let’s be understanding that we all fail to be impeccable.

Grace is the spiritual “high-five” we give, and get, for even trying to show up.

This challenging time has taught us that we’re all in this together. Our ability to grant grace rather than judge is what heals us: you give grace to someone not because they’re worthy of it, but because you can. Because you’re human, and you hope someone will give you the same gift.

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Story produced by Young Kim. Editor: Remington Korper. 

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