Tuesday, August 18, 2009

G....is for Grace

For some grace can be a rather loaded word. I'm not talking about the kind of grace that one receives from a mighty deity. I'm talking about the action of grace in our lives. I define grace as the space in our lives for failure, and what that can gift us. Failure offers gifts?


I remember how frustrated I was when I was 5 and learning how to ride my bike. My best friend down the street had all his family around him and a lot of kids in the neighborhood cheering him on. He fell once, crying, and then sailed off on his bike like a champ. I was so jealous, and knew that I wanted to be a bike-rider too! I had a pink bike with tassels on the handles. While this was a little embarassing for a tom boy, I still knew it would get sufficiently muddy on the trails behind my house. I would turn it into a proper dirt bike - if I could only learn how to ride it!

I remember being by myself and falling and falling. I was pretty peeved that my triumphant crowd wasn't present to see me sail away on my bike. But, I would do it. Yes, I would. My knees were skinned and my pride was even more so. But, after what seemed like hours I finally got that bike moving in a straight line. I kept adjusting the handle bars and holding my breath as I pumped my feet.

That was better than anything! I finally had mastered the impossible. Later on, I gathered up a triumphant crowd - not to be outdone by neighbor and sailed down the street like a champion.

That is grace.

There is room in the universe for mistakes. It can be the most painful way to learn,but often the most rewarding and memorable. Looking back on what might be my easy lessons, I can't recall them. But, boy do those knee skinning and pride bending ones wrench my memory.

Being in ministry and being a parent remind me of this. I make mistakes, and watch my boys struggle through their first lessons...walking...social skills...playground fumbles. Before I jump in to "fix" it for them, I remember what grace is. Instead I offer a triumphant crowd of cheers and a hug for the tears.

Everyone needs to sail away on their bike, with their own feet pedaling.