Have you ever said something you thought was really stupid, expected the worst and received grace instead? I have. I’ve also received the worst when that happens too. Human grace, can be inconsistent. The impulsiveness that comes with being an ADD Redhead, is sometimes a blessing, and sometimes, not. There are days when I really wish the filter between my brain and my mouth worked better. There are also days where I wish I could simply relax and not worry so much about stuff like that.
My husband has a catch phrase for those foot in mouth moments, “This moment brought to you by Attention Deficit Disorder.” and we have learned to laugh them off. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older. I am however still human and when I go on rabbit trails, I like to take people with me for the ride sometimes.
There are people who cannot handle that. And you know, I’m learning how to accept that about them and find different people to hang with. I prefer to surround myself with Grace-Filled people today. I also try to model grace to others as much as possible. In part because I need a lot of grace at times, and in large part, because I’ve noticed that Grace is decidedly lacking in this world. Everyone needs people in their lives who love them unconditionally. People who celebrate our differences and embrace us, rabbit trails and all. I need people like that, and you need people like that.
I was a Rotary International Exchange Student when I was 16. During my year in Sweden we went to the Nobel Awards and was granted an audience with the king. I’d never met a really live king before and I was excited. I imagined that he would be like every fairy tale that I’d ever read. My host family spent weeks preparing me for the event. I had lessons on poise and etiquette, had my hair done, bought new clothes – the whole package. The day finally arrived and we all were a bundle of excitement and nerves. We could not wait to meet this King.
Our group of teenagers formed a circle in the grand palace waiting for his entrance. The rules ran through my head. Don’t make eye contact, bow low, speak only when spoken to and address him only as your grace. A man entered the room, surrounded by security. Looking at him I noticed that he didn’t really look anything like what I’d read about in the books. He wasn’t tall and statuesque. There really wasn’t anything remarkable about him that would set him apart from other men. He looked (gasp) NORMAL. I couldn’t get over it.
By the time he made it to me, my nerves got the best of me, and I forgot every rule I had been told. I made eye-contact, forgot to bow, and instead of waiting to be spoken to and responding with your Grace, I stuck my hand out to shake his and said “Hi, I’m Deana. Wow, you’re shorter than I thought you’d be.” (Open Mouth, insert foot.)
True story – my questionable remark silenced the room and all eyes were on him. Everyone was looking at the King to see how they should react. I was mortified. I suddenly remembered the rules and bowed down as low as I could, hoping he wouldn’t cut off my head or anything.
And then I heard it. The sound of unmerited Grace,laughter. The King was laughing. I felt the hand of Grace while he reached out, took my hand and pulled me back up to a standing position. His eyes were dancing. I hadn’t offended him at all. I’d amused him. I was safe and I was relieved.
Grace, in human form is an awesome gift. When we extend grace to others, we model God’s grace. And while the level of grace I model isn’t always in top form and is very contingent on my mood or day, God’s Grace is eternal and for that, I am grateful.
I’d love to hear from you – can you share with me a time where you tripped up, expected the worst, but received Grace instead.
Copyright: Deana O’Hara, Redemption’s Heart. 2009.