When was the last time you were truly taken care of? Think of an instance when you were clearly in-over-your-head, underprepared and over-taxed, and someone personally led you around the landmines of your life. Can you remember it? I’ll bet you can! The relief was palpable, even if you don’t remember the face that provided it. But chances are you do remember the face as well. Because the face that bore the grace was unforgettable. Here are three grace-bearing sentences that come from my recent history:
“Let’s get your mother back living in her house again.” These words were spoken after a frozen pipe had created an indoor flood. My poor mother was displaced and living out of a suitcase for weeks into months. By the time that I, her power of attorney, had finally navigated the landmines of insurance, demolition and contractor-choosing much time had passed. What a relief to turn over the project to capable hands, who in turn, took care of my mom.
“I can help you pull that program together.” No evil down-turn of weather was the culprit here. No, the blame all rested on me, myself and I. I had been my own worst enemy, having let opportunity after opportunity to prepare slip away. The colleague who spoke these words, graciously gave four hours of her time. Thanks to her, there was a program with all the bells and whistles.
Can you and I become creative grace-givers?
“Je vous en prie.” The last memory comes from France, where a jet-lagged American who was exhausted from driving on unfamiliar roads with unfamiliar signs in an unfamiliar language pulled into a country “auberge” with her niece for dinner. It didn’t look like much from the outside but we didn’t have many choices. I had been looking for a restaurant for miles. Inside was a surprise. It was early in the week and there were no other guests in the restaurant, save a few locals in the bar. We passed their congenial chatter as the hostess escorted us into the dining room. To my surprise there was a fire roaring in the hearth as if started especially for us. Each table had linen tablecloths and overstuffed leather chairs. I sank down into one knowing I would come away refreshed both in spirit and in stomach. And I wasn’t disappointed.
When life has disappointed you, who has refreshed your spirit by steadfastness to duty, helpfulness or going the extra mile? Who has remembered to reveal the beauty of life after you’ve driven over miles of potholes? Who has been a grace-giver?
Maybe the greater question is: Can you and I become creative grace-givers? If not today, then when? Thankfully, there exists a promise for those who live by this creed:
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:2