Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seeing Beyond the Offense and Giving Grace

Evie praising at Lifest 2014
I was driving into the parking lot at a supermarket chain the other day and was cut off by someone coming from the other direction.  The driver was clearly speeding, which startled and offended me; I had Evie in the car with me, and did not appreciate the "near miss" which endangered my daughter.
My instinct was to fume...
But quite instantly I heard a voice inside me say, "How many people did you cut off?  How many times did you speed into a parking lot when you were picking up medications or running in for milk and you needed to get home as quickly as possible?" "Remember when you were working 10 hour days and then taking Evie to chemo appointments the other days?"

You see, reflecting back on when Evie had cancer, I'm certain that I stopped short, cut off, sped by, tail-gated...you name it.  We'd let our sidewalk go un-shoveled.  I didn't return phone calls.  I can't recall if I even sent out Christmas cards.  I think a hurricane devastated a large portion of the southeastern coast, but I didn't care;  
our world had shrunk down to the size of a 15 month old baby girl with a port in her chest, and poison running through her body in hopes of killing a killer.
So, our few months between the fall of 2005 and the spring of 2006 when Evie was being treated for cancer taught me a lot about grace.  Clearly, we didn't have a neon sign on the top of our car that said, "Be kind, their baby has cancer."  "Please, let them through, they're on the way to the ER with a fever of 104."  "New Year's Eve and on the way back to clinic for a dose of antibiotics because complications with pneumonia!"
The fact of the matter is, you may be judging someone who is experiencing the worst period in his or her life.
Give Grace...

Give grace... by letting the heavily sighing woman behind you move ahead of you in line.  /She may have just worked an overnight shift and now be going home to give the kids a meal before she goes to her second job which barely pays for heat.

Give grace... by waving that person in pleasantly; the person who is trying to "cut in"on the traffic when he or she should have moved over a long time ago.  He or she may have been thinking about when the right time is to call hospice for their mom or dad, and never saw the sign that the lane was ending.

Give grace...by shoveling the neighbor's driveway and sidewalk even though they've never done that for you, and usually take too long to do their own.  They may not shovel in a timely fashion because their daughter has cancer, and they can hardly lay her down to sleep at night let alone during the day when she just got her weekly dose of chemo.  (Yes, our wonderful neighbors in Wisconsin often shoveled us out that long, cold winter...they blessed us by never asking for anything in return, and probably weren't sure if we knew it was them.)

Please, see beyond the offense, and give them grace...you have no idea what news they just received, what horror they just witnessed, what tragedy they are experiencing.

The gift of grace is rarer than the sharpest diamond, and more precious than the finest pearl. 
One size fits all and guaranteed to be just what that person needs.

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