Grace Enough

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Last week, our seven-year-old had an accident at school. He slammed into a tree while running full-force as he was looking over his shoulder. He was deep in the throes of Ball Tag, and the real indignity of it all was that he was tagged by the ball just as he hit the tree.

The accident was terribly unnerving for many of the children on the playground; Charlie took most of the force on his forehead, and the head is very vascular. The impact threw my boy to the ground and he was immediately dazed and drenched in blood. By the time I got to the school, ten minutes later, Charlie had some color and was making jokes. But it was still scary and also a mess.

That afternoon, we spent several hours in the emergency room. This was not our first trip to the ER with one of the boys, but it was our first for such a large cut. When it was all said and done, Charlie had a severely bruised knee (X-ray showed no injury), several hearty scrapes and four stitches. Not nearly as bad as things initially seemed they would be.

Throughout this ordeal, I had a sense of calm about the situation. There was grace on it. While I had been marginally worried there would be unsuspected injuries, the doctors were quick to assess and minimize the damage.

During our time at the hospital, however, the longer we were there, the more fearful I became. While I wasn’t worried about the immediate situation, I started to fret about the reality of my life, of being a mother of boys, and specifically five boys with an incredible zest for life. Here I was dealing with one boy with one injury. How could I handle this times five over the course of X number of years?

I started to let my imagination get the better of me. I have a list of things I worry about, my little Rachel’s Top Ten of things I fear will happen to my children. Running full-force into an ancient oak tree isn’t even on the list. How, I started to wonder, could I control all the scary and bad things that could possibly happen? How could I stop them from happening? I used to think worrying would help, but now I’m not so sure.

For a brief moment, in that hospital room, I started to doubt God’s wisdom in giving me all these boys. And I was afraid – afraid of the future, of other injuries and trips to the emergency room and situations that could be worse than this. How could I handle all that, I wondered. I’m simply not strong enough.

And then I realized – I don’t have to be.

In the midst of all my fear and doubt, I somehow felt a wave of calm. God, in his infinite mercy, revealed himself. He gently reminded me of his unending love and his unfailing grace.

There wasn’t grace for any of those other situations – things which may or may not ever happen – because all I could do was deal with right now. I had to stop worrying about the future and focus on this boy and this wound. There was grace for the here and now, and that was all the grace I needed.

A few days earlier, I had been reading the book of John and found a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us. “Let not your heart be troubled,” writes John, “neither let it be afraid.” God really does desire perfect freedom and happiness in each of our lives.

When I stop worrying about the what-if’s and the could-be’s, I find there is grace and peace to walk through this moment. And that is all I could possibly need. 1135″>


St. Francis of the Reptiles

1134 1134_ () 1134 1134 Our neighborhood All Saints Day party is next Wednesday. I love this tradition in large part because it’s got the boys really thinking about the saints, about what saints they love, who they want to learn more about, and (most importantly) which saints died a bloody death. That’s the deciding factor in how we’ll dress for the evening.

I feel, however, that maybe things are going a bit far. A few days ago, one of the boys asked me which saint was the patron of “cigarettes.” He also wondered who was the patron of travelers, of cigars, and of video games. Maybe he thinks by asking for that saint’s intercession he might actually get a video game.

“Who is the patron saint of skateboarders,” one of the boys asked tonight at dinner.

And just as I was working on an answer to that question, he wondered about anacondas, and which saint was up in heaven interceding for them. 1134″> . .


Two Worlds. One Artist.

Tweet Tweet Pwecious Babee

1132 1132_ () 1132 1132 We were all sitting on the floor this afternoon, huddled around Henry and watching his every move. He is holding his head up so high these days and we can’t get enough of his sweet little face as he discovers the world around him.

“Let’s straighten out the blanket,” I said to Elliott, “and then I’ll put him back on his tum-tum.”

“We have so many new words now that we have Henry,” said Elliott.

“What do you mean,” I asked.

“Like tum-tum,” he said. We never, he said, used to say things like “tum-tum” or “pwecious” or “punkin pie sweet wittle baby cakes.”

We did, I told Elliott. But it was a long time ago. It was so long ago that he didn’t remember. Because he himself was a baby and then a very little boy when these words were still a part of our everyday vocabulary.

And then I realized just how much I had missed all this — getting all googly-eyed and silly and pronouncing my R’s as W’s and my S’s as T’s. I had forgotten about getting this much satisfaction out of watching someone realize that if he turns his head juuuust so he will be able to see the object he is looking for. What incredible delight I take in witnessing these tiny moments.

Just as sweet, I’m realizing, is that this time we’re all enjoying this together. Henry’s mommy and daddy are loving this season. And so are Henry’s big brothers.

And that is what makes it all the sweeter. 1132″>