One sunny afternoon a few years ago, I zipped down a new bypass our city had just opened. The smooth blacktop reminded me of Mater in the Disney movie Cars. I might have even sung to myself, “Driving on the new road.” Until the blue lights lit up my back glass.
“Do you know what the speed limit is?” the very nice officer asked.
“I thought it was 65, but since you asked that question, I’m guessing I’m wrong,” I replied with a grimace.
As I told the officer, I’d looked for a speed limit sign when I entered the road. Not seeing one, I assumed (incorrectly) that the speed limit was the same as all the other four-laned highways in our area. The officer agreed the road needed more signage and said they were handing out warnings but not tickets since the road had opened only a week earlier.
My legs wobbled a bit as I eased back onto the road, and I didn’t press the accelerator nearly as hard as I had earlier.
Paying Grace Forward
That afternoon I picked my son up from school and asked how his day went.
“Did my teacher call you?” he asked.
Never a good start to the after-school conversation. She hadn’t, so I encouraged him to tell me what happened before she did. Whatever had happened was so insignificant I can’t remember it anymore. What I do remember is my reaction. I told my son I’d had a hard day too. I explained about being pulled over and how the officer had shown me grace earlier that day. Instead of blowing my top over whatever infraction he’d had that day, I stopped at the dollar store where I purchased a soda for us to share. Back at my office, we drowned our sorrows and bad day blues in fizzy sweetness.
I don’t know if my son remembers that day, but I do. I remember how good it felt to share the grace someone else had freely given to me. As I write this, we are in week four of unexpected homeschooling and working from home with an eternity (or so it seems) of this stretched out in front of us. The day this article is scheduled to be published on Karen’s blog will be my birthday. And my lesson of grace is more relevant now than ever before.
More Ways To Live Grace
Early on in this extended stay-home time, we created a schedule for our children’s activities. My husband and I are both working from home, so we’re all here but busy. The first day my kids came to me at 11:30 a.m. saying they were hungry, but lunch wasn’t scheduled until noon. So we stopped for lunch early. Another day they needed extra time to complete a project before moving on to the next activity, so we pushed everything back thirty minutes.
I’m not the most flexible person when it comes to schedules. I love knowing what’s happening next and following through, but these days, we’re all living on a lot of grace. In addition to keeping up with work and making sure our children are not zoned out on electronics all day every day, we’re managing the stress and grief brought on my uncertain and scary times. That much anxiety takes its toll on everyone. Discipline still has to happen, but I’m trying to remember how good grace feels, especially now.
So when irritability and grumpiness rear their heads, I’m hugging my kids extra tight, literally until they start laughing. We’re going on more bike rides than ever. And sometimes we’re drowning our sorrows in a soda.
Meet Hilary Hamblin
Hilary Hamblin, author of The Arrangement and Color of Love, feeds her active imagination with thoughts of “what if” as she watches ordinary life unfold around her. Her novels are born from those “what if” stories as well as the experiences from her life in small-town Mississippi. Hilary uses her creative talents helping small businesses through her marketing and advertising agency, Momentum Consulting. She spends much of her time, however, raising two children with her husband, Josh, and spoiling their Jack Russell terrier. She’s represented by Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency. You can find her online or on Facebook.
Wish Hilary “Happy Birthday” in the comments below!