Published in The Ferndale Record-Journal, January 13, 2010
There’ve been some difficult days lately. You know the kind.
My efforts felt minimal, but were the best I had to offer, the money didn’t stretch very far, and as hard as I tried to make people see things my way, they couldn’t or wouldn’t.
In short, I was not enough. And one day last weekend the planets must’ve lined up just right adding to everything else in the fray, and I experienced a melt down—a day of falling apart. I felt out of control and people around me were confused.
The good news is, it was only one day. I plunged headlong into the new week, ready to take on my life. I was in defense mode. That’s why what happened next caught me off guard.
One morning I woke up experiencing what I can only describe as grace, covering me like a cape, a blanket made wholly of unconditional love. The feeling was palpable, almost tangible. Its warmth stopped me cold. My first thought? What did I do to deserve this infusion of goodness? I hadn’t been doing enough. Why the outpouring?
That same day I got to see a rare, early Whatcom County morning on the way to work. January drizzle gave way to breaking light over Mt. Baker and into the hills of Bellingham. Driving down Vista, I felt that grace again. My emotional armor was no match for the gift I’d been given. Softening prevailed.
The coral and purple ribbons of sky were show stopping, and reminded me of a thought by someone called Father Joseph, that was passed along to me at a time I needed it:
“One of God’s arrangements is that after winter there should come beautiful spring days. It happens every year. And it happens in every life.”
I’ve also observed that sometimes I’m given peace, knowledge, and comfort prior to a difficult phase in my life. Kind of like someone bestowing me with a lovely gift to soften the blow of soon-to-be delivered bad news.
Either way, it only strengthens my faith that I’m not alone, or forgotten.
Even though he does a lot for himself now, sometimes I do little, unexpected things for my teenage son that I know he’ll like. I make him hot chocolate, buy his favorite candy bar, or bring home Subway’s Meatball Marinara sandwiches. I tell him I appreciate his help, or that his hair looks good that day.
It’s fun to see his face light up. But it’s not because he earned it, it’s because I love him and I want him to recognize that affection in ways other than my paying the mortgage or bringing home the groceries.
I think God gives gifts in ways like that. It’s simple. I exist and that’s enough for God. I don’t have to do everything right or always be on my best game to deserve goodness. Sometimes it’s just a manifestation of love.
I’ve experienced too much in my life to ever deny the existence of God. I see the proof everywhere.
Last week’s present was more icing on an already beautiful cake.