she nudged me, eyebrows with a curious bounce, “what’s going on with Orange Wednesday?” she retracted her question with excuses that only i am supposed to use like i’m sure your busy in the midst of wedding season and the front yard under went a serious face lift. but i knew what she was asking, it was the same one i’ve been asking myself for weeks. where are you?
i got lost. sometimes that happens, right? we get lost and we can’t seem to find where or when it was we forgot to stay open. i’ve been doing a lot of wrestling. a lot of internal fighting. a lot of complicated questions to solve that only adults know how to deal with. oh wait, i became an adult like 10 years ago.
my mom came over yesterday. i waited for her. sitting in my orange adirondack chair i waited. and when i told her i was having a hard time she spoke for minutes and then i asked her to stop. because moms can handle honesty, right? i just wanted someone to know i was having a hard time and this time i couldn’t figure it out and i was tired of trying. and some of the darkness just isn’t going away. some of it isn’t getting better. the harder i try, the more i fail. she held her words back. she listened. and when silence broke she said one word. grace.
she gathered her belongings. i reminded her not to talk on the phone or text while driving. she promised she wouldn’t and left.
grace. i said that word just the day before. with a cart full of corn, cherries, 8 bags of ice, and baby girl strapped into the seat… the shopping cart seat to which i don’t have one of those nifty shopping cart carriers. and while we are on the subject i don’t wipe down the carts either. yes, i put my daughter right onto that overly touched, spit on, germ infested, probably peed on metal where she chews the living daylights out of the push handle. (everyone’s face just winced in total disgust. yes, pour out heaps of judgment, i probably deserve it). well, i actually accepted the bagger’s offer to help me to the car, but i totally ditched him when i saw my sweet friend, mother to her first precious baby boy. we exchanged hugs, laughter, and several jumbled sentences about how hard, how. freaking.hard, it is to be a mom. i told her there is nothing like it. my eyes focused in on hers and i said it, grace. give yourself so much grace.
grace. my dearest friend said it to me. well, in so many words she said it. after i described a simple conversation that turned complex under the chaos of 4th of july chatter. i felt beat up. i felt misunderstood. she told me to let it go. that most of the time people don’t understand each other and that’s okay because we all come at life with our different stories and it gets complicated. let it go. give her grace she was saying.
but that is what is so hard. we hate grace. okay, i hate it. i want so badly want to prove, earn, save, deserve, and do it all. grace feels like giving up. grace feels like waving the white flag. it feels like shrugging shoulders and wide eyes saying, better luck next time. because accepting our own failures can be the hardest thing on the planet. accepting that we need help and accepting ourselves as we are is just down right ridiculously hard. i feel it though. in the quiet of my everyday moments, i feel my inadequacies. when i scan through instagram images i see other lives that i want, and there is jealously. when i finger through pinterest pictures i see perfection, and there is pain. when i can’t figure out answers to my problems there is frustration. when i jump from blog to blog and see insane photography i get jaded and daydream about quitting.
what if grace wasn’t about achieving, but receiving. not about earning, but enjoying.
and i realize this: in my war of working out my adult-like problems i am met with grace. grace seen in the green grass still taking root in our front yard, grace in the sun melting this day into night, grace in her big blue eyes and light lashes, grace in my tangled hair -frizzed by the relentless july heat, grace in all the in-between-moments, grace in the shouts of sweaty boys screaming “more, more.” we tackle and fall.
grace in all.
and finding an answer becomes less about the answer and more about the One who answers. That God in His great love for us, does just that, he loves. and it is full and it is breath and it is wide open and running into the wildness and wideness of my being. it is out stretched and all knowing, bending down deep and low, surrounding us in somersaults of never ending love. it is grace. grace, not an object to be dissected or divided, but that which rolls out the red carpet and draws us into His divine love. grace, at all times and in all things, available. grace, an invitation for an exploration of hearts to be made free. though frail spirits may tremble at the sight of giants, grace sings the melody of saints. that God, the one who breathed grace into being grants us with a million little gifts, the beautiful, painful and complicated kinds of gifts, for glory to find its home again. with giggles grinning, smiles spinning, round and round we fly, the boys cadence chanting, “ashes, ashes, we all fall down.” and we do, we fall, back itching in blades of grass, eyes fixed to the heavens, smears of pink and gold, and i take it in, grace. grace received, grace, relieved.
(this was a long one folks. now for some of our 4th of july madness)
(maria, graciously holding the iphone screening go, Diego, go)
(noelle and eliza. 2 weeks apart!)
s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g little lady.
(18 and one was asleep. 19 kids. yikes!)