This could be all that we know
Of love and all
Gregory Alan Isakov, Big Black Car
My daughter came home from school one day and she proclaimed it to be the worst day ever. Right now, I’m thankful that she opens up to me. Knowing one day, without me being able to predict it happening, she might close that door. She might choose to shut me out and hold in her feelings and let them build up in her unwilling and maybe even feeling unable to share them with me, mom.
Tell me more about your worst day ever. I kept my eyes on the road but would sneak glances to the side, knowing if I looked at her too intently, she wouldn’t feel brave enough to share. One of her friends had pushed her and said something mean. “Mommy! I’m really small. And when you’re as small as me, a push can hurt!” I shoved her gently…Was it like that? “No, harder.” So I pushed her, the way I’d playfully push a friend on the arm. “Ouch!” She cried out. “Yes, like that. It hurts.”
It wasn’t the push that hurts. It was the way she made you feel. Pushing you and saying mean things hurt your feelings. Your heart.
With tears in her eyes she agreed. “She just makes me so mad! She’s mean and I don’t want to be her friend.”
But what about Grace? I asked her if she knew what Grace was and she wasn’t sure. I told her that I went through something this last year (something I’m not quite ready to share with the world yet) but it made me open up my heart to always want to let Grace rain from me–to no longer hold it back because of my own pride and pain. Because I went through something that made me shut down and retreat into myself. I was hurting. And Grace is what I needed. From my family who couldn’t see the light in my eyes. From my friends who I ran away from…not wanting to be a burden.
Grace isn’t something we deserve. It’s a gift given to us.
I reminded her that this friend just might need grace. That it was more than OK to tell her that she needed to stop pushing her but that when people act out in these ways it’s usually because they are going through something tough. And some people just need love and grace, and maybe time, and perhaps a friend. She looked at me with uncertainty. As if this sounded harder to do than what I was saying.
Oh yes. Grace is hard. It’s especially hard to give to people who we feel don’t deserve it. People who hurt us. Our egos get in the way–it’s easier to be friends with someone who only shows us their beauty–a smile, friendly texts, surface level small talk that never reveals anything but their lovely shininess. It’s easy to love them and say: They are a good friend. But the person who shows their hurt? Their ugliness? The pain they have etched like scratches in glass–those are the people who are harder to love. They are the people it’s harder to gift with Grace.
Not once did Jesus say people who are hurting should be a better friend or be a better wife or be a better person before he could offer them grace and love. Instead, he poured that love and grace into them freely. He didn’t have an ego that said: Act better and then I’ll love you. He just loved.
She heard me that day. Not just heard her mom talking about what she should do…but her heart heard my heart. She climbed into the car after school the next day and sighed: “I did it. Grace. I asked her if something was wrong. If she was OK. And she told me no. That her mom and dad keep fighting and are going to get a divorce.”
Pain. Scratched glass. These people can be painful to touch. Difficult to love. But what if instead of retreating and pulling back from their sharp edges, we let Grace pour out from us? My heart is encouraged to see my daughter trying, because one day it’ll be her turn. And when she gets sharp to the touch, I hope she too will be gifted Grace.