Sunday, 7 July 2013

Give a Little Grace

I used to think getting what you deserved would teach a required lesson. And that not having that lesson would mean missing that opportunity for growth. But I am getting the picture that we all need grace because we all mess up. If we always got what we deserved there would be times we would be in deep trouble. My life would be over!

There are two phrases that drive me crazy: "It will be fine" and "It will work out". I am set on more than fine. I want planned and organized. Always reliable. Never slipping through just in time (that experience gives me no high). Never having things fall together last minute. Never making do with what I've got. Because, ultimately, I really worry about it failing. The closer it is to not working, the higher the chance it will fail, right?

My outlook has gradually changed. But unfortunately my reaction patterns have not. Over and over I see someone making a choice that should lead to trouble and more often than not I initially feel frustration when I instead see a solution or a way out happen. I am slowly learning to love the contrast of mercy because of course I want things to work out. But it took me time to get there. How'd it change? People. Loving them and being in fellowship with them despite differences. Because boy, do we all have differences! I'd make a great hermit, hiding from all the clashes and misunderstandings. But I would make a very lonely, miserable hermit.

I think watching my husband interact with his older daughter, through the difficult teen years, was a big learning curve for me, who didn't get along with my parents as a teen and didn't feel close. I would get so angry when he wouldn't make her suffer consequences for her actions. Like paying her bill when we were on holidays and she accidentally used her calling card incorrectly and charged it to the room. Her relationship with him was never hindered. As a teen and as a young woman and as mother herself she always, always, always remained in communication with her father and told him she loved him. His unconditional love showed me the value of the person. And, seeing as he's the lucky fellow with whom I spend most of my time, he is always giving me opportunity to test my faith in others and the effect of their choices on my life.

Last weekend we took a wrong turn on the way to camping. I knew we took a wrong turn. But my husband was certain that we did not. We drove a while before it became an unavoidable fact that we were on the incorrect road. I called a friend for directions but by this time it was so late and we were all getting hungry. There was a beautiful clearing of flowers surrounded by trees with an exhilarating view of the mountains and the water way below. We pulled the camper in and set camp. Wow. Beautiful. The dogs ran free. No mosquitos. Not a sole in sight. There was only the sound of the birds. And later, the stars! With no lights anywhere near, the stars shone brighter and brighter as the evening progressed. After our bannock wrapped dinner and s'mores we snuggled in a hammock by the fire as my daughter fell asleep under the stars. Bliss. My husband talked to a friend who stopped by our intended site and he said it was jam packed. Good thing we ended up here.

There it is. Good thing.

Good thing he didn't listen to me worry and turn around. Good thing he wasn't overcome by my nagging, fretting, complaining. Though the poor guy still had to listen to me. Just like he has for the last seven years.

Immediately following our honeymoon there was a teen's conference we wanted to help chaperone. I wanted to fly from one city but return to another and then ride home with them in the bus. He got two-way tickets instead (now as a seasoned traveler I see why he would). I tried to change our tickets but they wouldn't let me. My husband wasn't worried. He wanted to just rent a car and drive for two and a half hours on an unfamiliar road across a border in the middle of the night. I was freaked out! oh, what a worrier! I tried not to think of it on our honeymoon. As we were leaving Mexico my husband asked if we could change our destination. He was told no. We continued on in the checking-in procedures and he asked someone else. They said yes and noted it on our tickets. The next person was very unhappy about this, but reprinted the tickets anyway. And we flew to the conference. I had fretted, fretted, fretted. My husband didn't worry one bit and got us there with a simple request that was denied by many before being accepted. It all worked out. And it would have worked out either way.

My last job I used to have a regular meeting with my boss to talk about things and release my aggravation. Otherwise I would lose my patience with coworkers and customers. I was always getting worked up about people not doing their part. Or people not following procedures. My biggest problem was a strong feeling that only if certain things changed then it would be so much better. But unfortunately my strong sense of caring about how things worked out didn't come across that way. It came across as not caring about people.

I know that if I was given the opportunity to avoid spontaneity and hiccups then my world would have shrunk. Sure I may have ended up living more organized and structured and planned and aiming big. But aiming is all I would have because my secure little box would have become too small. And so would my relationships.

Sometimes I have to go along with less than ideal plans (and better yet, accept that other plans are actually more beneficial). Sometimes I have to scramble to make things work. Sometimes I have to accept other people's choices. And more often that not it will feel like a lot more than sometimes. This recurring testing of my patience and acceptance of faults can be quite discouraging, but my world is expanding. I can experience things I would have stressed too much about before.

Usually. Yesterday I was a little grumpy. Our water in the camper was not working, amongst other things, and I was frustrated that it wasn't checked before we left. But what matters is I want it to work out. For it is never my place to say someone deserves a bad outcome. I want my faults to be forgiven so I must forgive the faults of others. And enjoy our time together.

And just maybe, when I learn to have more grace with others, I can become more forgiving of myself.

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