For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Driving our youngest to a youth event this morning I started one of those quick unsolicited conversations. She'd texted everybody in her contacts inviting them to Messy Olympics at our church. For some of those friends, this was the third time she was inviting them. I encouraged her to leave well enough alone and not worry about whether or not her friends would be able to make it.
Try then chill, I told her, as I flippantly flipped on the blinker right before turning (It drives me bonkers when other drivers use their blinker at the last second.)
From my own experience, I knew that she'd likely get to the church parking lot counting who all was there and who didn't make it, one, because she likes to win and wanted to make sure she was part of an adequately sized team, and secondly because she'd invited them to go and really wanted them to respond in the affirmative to her invite.
I mentioned her being a control freak (like myself) before wishing her a fun time. I saw plenty of adult faces, but I hopped out anyway to check to see if my help was needed. Our always fun guy, Jim, suggested that I run through the bubbles before I left. After flagging my friend Rachel down to join me in the wild and crazy, we walked through the bubbles.
A youth sponsor took our picture and sent it to my phone. I suppressed giggles when I got back to my car and saw the picture of my buddy and I posing with bubbles up to our waist. I had my shades on more because I had no makeup on, than because of the sun, and I was holding my shoes out to the side like I'd imagine someone on a girls night out holding a margarita.
I drove a few blocks and picked up some dry cleaning, parking in a spot that would likely cause me to have to back onto a busier street rather than my usual spot around to the side. The wild ride was made complete with an illegal u-turn.
You have to know being rigid/frightened/intense is my default. The first chiropractor I saw couldn't crack my neck or pop my back.
"You're the most tightly wound person I've ever known." That's what one of my most adored high school teachers told me my senior year. It was probably after one of my proud arguments against abortion. The slight sting of those words have lingered for all these years. I wasn't called Grandma by the guys in my class for nothing.
I've lived life with conviction. I'm passionate, as is my youngest. She's gregarious like her daddy and looks just like him too. But she's a little too bent, like me, on getting things right and making sure she makes her mark in the world, a bold, straight-lined one, even when the journey is best served by unexpected twists and turns.
My mess-ups have grown me, (maybe) more than my effort.
God has allowed me failing upon failing...fall upon fall, despite my effort to be good and do good.
Falling and then finding yourself safe takes out an appropriate amount of fear of living imperfectly. Falling, even when it hurts, especially when it hurts, invites us into the grace of Jesus and makes us better able to be the grace of Jesus to fellow fallers.
That's why we can run through the bubbles (but maybe not make illegal u-turns.) It's why we can live with a little more risk, even knowing we're really not in control. God is in control, we can live a little. We can try and then chill.
Update: Messy Olympics picture. (They lost, but at least they tried. Haha)
Mary E. Stewart