- Gift from God (Hebrew)
- God is gracious (Irish)
Gift from God
Oliver: "Miss McInerney worked in direct line operations but a small miracle brought her to us."
Theresa: "There are no small miracles, Oliver---only big miracles! They only seem small because we stand so far away from them." -Time To Start Livin'
God is Gracious
Oliver: "You and I have danced together before, and you're not entirely without grace." -Soulmates
But their Dark of Night awards are only physical evidence of a divinely orchestrated plot. I like the juxtaposition between Oliver's reference to Shane's arrival as a "small miracle," which Theresa correctly identifies that Oliver is standing too far away from, and his full on acknowledgment in From Paris With Love that Shane was "...a hole in [his] department" he didn't even know was there until she came to fill it. It's like Oliver finally has the courage (the freedom?) to stand close enough to the miracle (gift) to truly see that is was one. Notice Oliver makes those remarks on the porch while physically walking towards Shane!
Even as Shane's arrival, and all to follow, was a divine gift to those around her, Shane demonstrated a distinct inability to receive and claim gifts for herself.
Both in the Pilot and For Christmas, Shane is confronted with the choice to accept the gift of hope, and each time she struggles to do so. Oddly enough, it's only after Oliver confronts Shane with her hurt that she finds a path towards acceptance, and ultimately healing.
While Oliver's quote above was meant to allude to the "grace" Shane demonstrated on the dance floor, she also embodies a deeper expression of "grace" through her actions in the context of the series as a whole.
In Webster's Dictionary, the definition of "gracious" is "abounding in grace or mercy; manifesting love; disposed to show kindness or favor." Much like "The Lord is gracious and compassionate" (Psalm 145:8), Shane exhibits both grace and compassion as well. The above video is merely a montage of the ways in which Shane has done so throughout the series, both in her interactions with those closest to her and towards those to whom letters are delivered.
One of the things I admire most about Shane and her compassion for others is how it's clothed in both tenderness and strength. With Hannah and Joey her messages are tender and loving---they build up and give comfort. Confronting Oliver in the Pilot and testifying before the committee in Impossible Dream it is steeped in passionate, clear conviction that could change anyone's mind or, more importantly, their heart.
It is in these actions that this second interpretation of Shane's name is manifested in her character.
From her divinely inspired arrival, to her outpouring of compassion towards others, Shane lives out both definitions of her name as she walks through the series.
Learning From Shane,
What's In A Name? Series: Introduction | Norman | Rita | Oliver | Shane