Every now and then, grace sneaks up on me when I’m not looking.
I don’t mean when I’m plucking my eyebrows or squeezing a zit or anything; even grace isn’t that miraculous. But when I most need it, and least expect it, I am occasionally–quite unexpectedly–blessed.
Two days ago I stumbled upon the ability to let go, and the most amazing part is that I was spitting mad when it happened. I mean I was mid-birthing-live-kittens angry.
But then, I suppose that’s why we so often refer to grace as amazing.
A recent event in my life has left me asking WHY? for the last couple of weeks. On the heels of WHY?, we have the ever-popular IT’S NOT RIGHT and IT’S NOT FAIR and my personal favorite, SOMEONE NEEDS TO DIE NOW. I’m sure we’ve all been there. (What? You haven’t? Liar.) While in the midst of trying to make sense of a rapid turnabout in the state of my world, and reviewing the last handful of weeks, I found myself writing “How does one go from THAT, to THIS? The answer is, a person [who can go where I want to be] does not.”
And you know, I believe Oprah needs a smack upside the head as much as the next person, but it was an Oprah-dubbed “lightbulb moment” if ever there was one.
I reread what I’d written, again and again. For several hours, I’d say. Suddenly I realized I had my explanation. And with that realization came a flood of relief; both that I understood, and that the turn in developments (which had tied me in knots for weeks) had happened. It still wasn’t fun, or happy, or anything I’d want to go through again. But I get it now. I was going the wrong way, before. With this epiphany in mind, my imagination flashed forward to the alternatives if things had happened differently. To my horror, many of the other options yielded much worse.
In summary: the last few weeks have sucked. Probably the suckitude isn’t completely over yet. And I’m glad.
If that’s not grace, I don’t know what is.
Today the kids and I put on our bathing suits and lubed up with sunscreen and spent the morning picking berries with friends. Afterwards we headed to the beach for lunch and a lazy afternoon of splashing, digging in the sand, and the angelic behavior that can only be obtained with the bribe of ice cream sandwiches.
All of the children–sandy and sun-drained–proceeded to melt down in the car on the way back. First Monkey and Boing started chanting some nonsense song and then Chickadee decided perhaps she could shut them up by smacking them both under the guise of accompanying hand movements. I swerved onto the shoulder amidst whining and screaming and gave everyone whiplash while stopping to announce that NO ONE would be touching ANYONE ELSE for the remainder of the trip. We delivered our friends to their door and headed home, ourselves.
Once in dry clothes, I put on a movie for the kids and gave them each a bowl of berries (blueberries for Chickadee, raspberries for Monkey). They sagged on the couches and didn’t protest when I patted them or kissed their ears. I let them eat dinner in front of the television. We compared our burnt shoulders and talked about how much fun the day had been and who had picked the most berries. When they left with their father tonight, their kisses were still sticky-sweet with berry juices.
After they’d left, I tidied up a bit, then went out with a friend. I told her about my realization. She told me she’d been able to tell immediately that something had changed, that I’m more “back to normal.” And I recalled that under the hot sun with clusters of berries under my searching fingertips, my other friend had earlier appraised me and said, “You are more yourself today than I’ve seen you in months.”
It’s not that everything is peachy, or that I’m not sad anymore. It’s that I’m me again, on the right path; knowing that I’ll get where I’m going. One way or another.
(Well, that and the four pounds of fresh berries in the kitchen. And the little rush I always get from the look of abject terror that can be produced by pulling over in the middle of the road. Those things may have played a small part.)
It’s good to be back.