Have you traveled to infinity and beyond lately? What did it look like to you? I remember getting my first glimpse.
It was supposed to be a rare gathering of Daddy, all his brothers, and Granddaddy. Daddy was euphoric. I was thrilled for Tom, two and a half year old Mary, and me to be going along for the visit.
After a dinner (which is the noon meal in the South) of fresh homegrown vegetables, country smoked ham, and enough rich desserts to put a diabetic in a permanent coma, we had all settled in the living room. It was time to relax and let the stories roll. This was the time I'd been looking forward to for months.
I was snuggled into the couch ready to soak up some down home love. Then Uncle Clewis, brother #3 and just younger than Daddy, dropped his bomb. Everyone had wondered why Aunt Nell hadn't come with him from St. Petersburg. Now he told us it was because they were getting a divorce. (That may not sound like a big deal to you, but to that generation, in our family, in that place, it was devastating.),
Granddaddy, our strong and adored patriarch, began to weep softly. In that moment, I thought if I'd had a gun, I'd have shot Uncle Clewis. (Well, maybe not. But I never thought of him the same way afterwards. Now you've seen my darkest side.)
Uncle Clewis and Uncle Harry, brother #1, went to walk in the pasture. Daddy and Uncle Cleo, brother #4, drifted between the kitchen and the living room. I went to sit by Granddaddy, glad to hold his hand.
Staring ahead, Granddaddy quietly said, "You all live a lifetime. Your children are long past grown. And they can still hurt you and break your heart."
As saddened as Granddaddy was over Uncle Clewis and Aunt Nell's divorce, he didn't allow any estrangement to develop between him, or any of his boys. He taught this young mother that parenthood is a lifetime commitment with no guarantees, no matter the ages of parents and their children. The lesson still affects how I parent my kids.
We are thrilled Mary will be making a trip to Kenya this summer to see the work being done for and with women suffering the ravages of war. Mary has always had a tender heart. I'm confident the trip will deepen her empathy for others and her passion for Christ.
The Lord has outrageously blessed me by showing me Granddaddy's model of a commitment to grace. It makes it so much easier to understand that our Heavenly Father's grace is to infinity and beyond. Dear Reader, aren't we thankful we can ". . . step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most"? (Hebrews 4:16 VOICE)
Our Father is always ready to reach out to us where we are. His grace is literally to infinity and beyond. We only have to do two things: accept His hand, and receive the grace He freely offers us. And, just think, we don't even have to go to Kenya!
Hey, how about join me over at Crystal's this Tuesday. I hope you can also come along to Kelly's.