Several years ago I leased a beautiful, new car and was reveling in its purity. It was not yet tattooed by the hands of urban parking, and the rims were still gleaming. On my new shiny’s maiden voyage from the dealership, I drove to collect my son from school.
As I waited for him in the pickup line, I spotted my boy joyfully skipping to the car grinning ear to ear, backpack trailing and waving what I thought to be a piece of paper.
“Guess what, Mama?” he asked, out of breath.
“What, Sweets?” I responded.
“I won STUDENT OF THE MONTH!” he proudly announced.
I beamed! I wanted to shout it from the top of the Hancock Tower! I wanted to send out an email blast! YAY!
Then, he handed it to me. Yes, IT.
The sticker read, “MY SON WAS STUDENT OF THE MONTH AT BLAH BLAH SCHOOL.”
This was, most likely, the only instance I voluntarily (was it voluntary?) slapped an announcement on my bumper. If given a choice, I would have publicized my son’s success in my way to my family and friends, not necessarily to my fellow commuters. TMI.
I can think of one other exception to sharing a message on my tail, however. I would be willing to post the sticker, “Grace Happens.”
Have you ever seen that bumper sticker? It has a white field with a serendipitous font and little yellow stars on it. It is light, hopeful and divine. I love it.
It is TRUE! I believe that Grace happens all around us, all the time. It is a bestowal of blessings. Do you see it?
Each time I see that bumper sticker I am reminded to open my eyes and witness Grace. It is everywhere.
Grace has been present to me in remarkable ways on several occasions.
My dear dad passed away of heart failure in 2010. Clearly, it was sudden and the most devastating event in my life. I still miss him every single day.
Dad and I shared great passion and strong opinions on many topics, yet we agreed on few. Our relationship was a tumultuous one, but it never, ever lacked love. Looking back, I am thankful that, no matter what our differences, at least our relationship was REAL.
At the time of his death, he and I were just starting to reconcile after a hurtful impasse that had kept us from speaking for months. Despite our past disagreements, we had never been so disconnected in my 43 years. Looking back, I would have given just about anything to have been on good terms when he left this life. I wished I’d had the opportunity for a do-over.
But he died. Grief crippled me. I could barely function.
One morning, I accepted that I could not face that day. I surrendered myself back to bed after I dropped my son off at school. Then, I had a dream that I am confident will remain crystal clear in my mind forever.
I dreamt that I was standing on a sidewalk on a rainy day waiting for my dad. He and I had a standing appointment each week on the same day. My head was down. I was studying a big, muddy puddle at my feet. Then, it dawned on me. He was not coming.
All of a sudden, to my surprise, a car slowly passed me, upsetting my puddle. It stopped when its rear bumper aligned with where I was standing. I looked up to see the driver’s window slowly roll down. My dad’s face appeared in the window, and he looked at me.
“Dad? But you are gone!” I said.
“I am not gone, Darling, I am still here with you.”
“Can you see me, Daddy?”
“I can’t see your face but I can see you from above.”
Then, I woke. The dream ended there. I felt enormous love in my heart and the deepest comfort imaginable. Grace happened. Reconciliation happened. I knew he would never leave me. It was finally clear. He loved me so.
I am so grateful that my dad continued to visit me for months after my dream. I understand that he was checking on me. He was reassuring me and he was trying to alleviate my excruciating grief and GUILT. Let’s not forget the guilt.
I felt his presence every Sunday at church and my husband made sure to have a clean handkerchief in his pocket. It became a thing. One day I saw Dad observing (inspecting) the landscaping of my new house. Good thing he could not speak. One time, for a split second, while waiting in the drive-through, I swear I saw my dad in the Camry two cars back. That was unexpected.
Life is messy. Life can be hard and tragic and disappointing and so many other things. On our journey, we don’t know where we are going to land. But, there is a plan. And Lovey, Grace has everything to do with it.
I do not know what inspired me spontaneously to look for and find my long-lost cousins on Facebook but I was overcome with the sense that somehow, that very moment, I needed to.
My friend request has reunited me with my Laura, who, in just five months, knows almost all the secrets I have ever kept. And if you keep reading my blog, soon enough you will know all of them, too.
We were meant to go to the police. We were meant to meet Officer Paul Smith. Officer Paul Smith was meant to find another victim of our grandfather’s abuse. Laura was meant to write her blog post, “He Wrote it Down,” which has resonated with SO many.
Now, Laura and I, holding hands, are about to do the next great thing. And guess what? We are certain that Grace will join us.
Grace happens! Do you see? It is a miracle. It is a marvel. It stupendous phenomenon and it brings very welcome consequences.
Thank you, Grace.