It’s only 9:15am on Monday, and this day has already had it’s fair share of bumps, lumps and wonders. I’m sure yours has, too.
Bump #1. 7:15am: #4 child wakes with a fever for the third straight day. Today is the first-grade Halloween parade and she will have to miss. If you have ever been six, you will understand to what depths of woe we both travelled before breakfast.
Wonder #1. 7:45am: The same child (still in her tear-stained Halloween outfit) and I drink tea with milk and stare silently out the kitchen window. We watch, enraptured, as the flock of plump orioles hop and flit in the frosty back-yard.
Lump #2. 8:30am: Child #3 cannot find his jacket. Or his sweatshirt. Or anything with sleeves. The thermometer reads 32 degrees, and he is standing before me in a sleeveless tee-shirt and lacrosse shorts with bananas on them. After a futile “…I hope I don’t have to walk up there…” threat, I trudge upstairs and find all three items instantly.
“Mom, it’s kind of your fault for putting them where I couldn’t really see them”. If you have ever seen a bull snorting and pawing the dirt before charging the red flag, you will understand the way that whole conversation went down.
Wonder #2. 8:55am: I am still aggravated with Child #3 and am pouring all grievances and hurts of the last week on his slumped ten-year-old shoulders. I am feeling miserable for ushering him off to school in this bitter fashion, but I soldier on, because this time I know my harsh-toned, critical and accusing lecture will surely soften his heart and change his ways.
“I love you, mom”. He says simply, and kindly, as he gathers up his bag.
If your soul has ever been pierced by unmerited grace, you can understand my quiet ride home.
Surely, it is only grace that moves us, changes us, softens us.
Why can’t I remember this?
How can I navigate these daily bumps with more grace? I surely must be the most forgetful person ever created….
#1. I forget that there will always be rough bumps, ditches and obstacles in my road. I am not exempt from the narrow, rocky way that the rest of humanity, including my children, must walk.
Why do I think my road should be smooth and paved, obstacle free?
#2. I forget that people are not the bumps in the road. People are sacred and set apart as the most prized of all creation. They are walking the same road as I am. Why do I think that they are my problem?
#3. I forget that I have the ability to freely dispense grace. Grace need not be rationed. Grace doesn’t take grand detours around thorny issues (as I like to do with adults). Neither does she always confront every obstacle head-on with a sledgehammer and a bulldozer (as I like to do with my children).
Grace, as I’ve been lucky to observe and experience, is creative and agile. She has eyes that see the person as a sacred soul, even in the midst of a true, ugly obstacle. Grace is child-like in her ability to forgive; quick and sincere.
Grace doesn’t just float over obstacles like a fairy in la-la-land. This is real life, doggone it! Rather, grace is the first to stretch out her hand, to both steady and strengthen the other struggling soul as they walk with her over, under, or through the fray.
Wonders never cease.