By: Ms. O
I live my life trying to be thought of as the “generous” type. It is so much easier for me to give than to receive. As a matter of fact, being on the receiving end makes me somewhat uncomfortable. I don’t know why….I am sure some psychiatrist could spend some time analyzing me.
My daughter has fussed at me plenty at my inability to accept compliments. What is it about receiving a compliment that I immediately fall back into making excuses? Why can’t I simply say “thanks” and not have to qualify it?
If someone gives me a gift, my mind races to think of how I can return the favor. What can I do to measure up to a kindness extended? Most times it involves baking something…surely that says,
“I see your kindness….. and raise you a chocolate cake”.
Recently though, an act of kindness was extended to me that I don’t know how in the world I will ever be able to reciprocate….
I have found over the years that as a mom of a son, you learn to dance lightly. I don’t want to make waves…don’t want to intrude…overstep my “boundaries”. When my son was growing up, I learned how to “hug” in public…show signs of affection without embarrassing him. I watched a young man grow into a man. I figured out how to move him into his college apartment, muster up the courage to say goodbye without breaking down in a mound of tears.
I was insistent when he got married that he would walk me down the aisle. I knew that would be the last time he would walk with me as a single man…this son of mine that I raised. After that he would do what he promised to do…what I prayed about for so many years…he would leave my side and take up the role as husband to a pretty amazing woman.
When I found out that I would soon be a grandmother, my heart went pitter patter. I could not contain my excitement as I dreamed of the day I would see my first grandchild. I also knew the dance would begin….again….of treading lightly. It is quite normal (and expected) that my daughter-in-law would want her mother with her. This bond of motherhood is something you have to experience to understand.
I waited to know where I fit into the mix….and I fully expected to stand back and allow them to joyfully welcome another generation of life. That wasn’t a sad thing for me…in fact, I knew it should be that way, so I was fully prepared to…stand aside and wait.
What I did not expect was the gift of grace…..one that I cannot describe in words. The family….from both sides…were lead into the hospital room by my son (a very proud new dad)…and we all gathered around the bed to view the newest arrival who was snuggled in the arms of my daughter in law. Time stood still as we took in this sight…this miracle bundle named…Evelyn.
I had always known my son’s mother-in-law was kind. She is a gracious, loving woman. But that day, grace took on a deeper meaning. I expected her, as the mother of the “new mom” to have the honor of holding this precious baby girl first. I settled in to wait my turn…knowing I would cherish the moment when it came.
But then, grace was extended to me beyond my expectations.
When my daughter-in-law asked who wanted to hold Evelyn first, her mother paused….looked at our new granddaughter…turned to me…and said, “You need to hold her first.”
My heart climbed into my throat….so full of love and gratitude…in response to such unselfish kindness. I was humbled….so caught up in this moment of…God…that I still tear up just remembering the feeling of that moment.
Later as I went to sleep that night…I savored the moment, and thought of Paul (my go-to guy) and his words to the church in Ephesus.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is THE gift of God – not by works that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:6-9
I have had times in my life that I have experienced that grace…the pure outpouring of love from God. I have also had several times in my life that I have experienced His grace through the actions of others. The moment I held Evelyn for the first time….grace was so palpable…I could smell it…taste it…feel it..in every pore of my soul.
How can I ever “repay” this gift? I don’t think there is a cake, cookie, or dessert that I could make…that would ever compare. Instead, I will strive to extend the same love that was given to me.
I thought I was ready for that moment…but God has a way of catching me off guard…again and again. You are good, God…so much better than I ever imagined. I pray I never lose that awe. With gratitude I say….amen.