Sometimes we all need a little grace.
I was at the grocery store today and heard a woman's voice escalating in frustration as she battled with someone on her cell phone. The tone disturbed me, but not as much as the foul language accompanying her fevered pitch. As some choice 'f' words filled the space between the organic chicken and the frozen pizza rolls, I flashed a perturbed glance her way. Watching as she seemed to empty her reserve tank of the last drop of profanity before slamming the phone shut, I almost opened my mouth to let her know how unappreciated her tirade had been. But something stopped me. My irritation was replaced with something softer, kinder. Was it compassion? Empathy? Perhaps. But even more so, it was grace. This woman was hurting. She was in pain. Not the temporary, stinging kind when you bang your shin into the bottom of the shopping cart. No. She was experiencing the bottom's-about-to-fall-out kind of pain. I could see it in her eyes. She murmured an apology and I told her it was okay. And then she murmured another one. "Really," I said, "there's no need. I can tell you're hurting." A touch of relief brushed across her face...just a touch, but almost enough. I could see that what she needed at that moment was grace and for that one divine moment I allowed my judgmental, harsh, "you-shouldn't-swear-like-that-in-public" self to step aside and extend that very thing to her.
After all, isn't that what we all need sometimes? When we're not behaving like we know we should. When we let a snippy comment escape just in time to inflict a wound. When we brush off our children's curiousity. We need grace.
Remember learning the Golden Rule when you were a kid? I do. "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."
Grace. The oh-so-complicated, oh-so-simple extension of the Golden Rule.
So tomorrow, when your toddler doesn't make it to the potty on time, or your five-year-old knocks over your favorite vase, or your teenager spills the carton of milk on the pile of bills you're sorting through, stop and think for a moment. What's needed here? A carefully worded lecture, a digusted look and sigh? Or just maybe...all that's needed this time...is a little bit of grace.
Keeping it simple,