You ever had one of those invisible conversations, one of those wordless wonders where so much more is going on than meets the eye?
I went to town the other day, in an area where addiction has become prevalent, on public display rather than tucked away, confined to the basement opium dens of long ago where the Chinese gathered, where the smugglers brought opium in through secret tunnels….
So while I was parked this young gal fell off her bike and stumbled into my car, got up and faceplanted a few more times, so I had to go check her out. I’ve always got a list in my head, low blood sugar, seizure, head injury, heart attack.
Also, I’m a mom. You simply can’t faceplant in front of me and expect me to just look away politely. I’m explaining myself here because there’s this little bubbling bit of rage over the fact that we live in this world where looking away is even an option.
So the first person I turned to said, “don’t pay any attention to her, she’s just drunk.” There was weariness in those eyes, defeat that whispered, I ain’t got time for this nonsense.
Gals now crawling down the sidewalk trying to drag her bike along, each attempt to stand up, not ending well. She’s now got scratches on her face, dirt embedded in them, bruises forming.
And everyone is looking away politely or disinterested or helpless.
I want to call someone to scoop her up, to get her out of traffic, to make sure she doesn’t overdose, but there’s no one to call. A life time of sheer futility has taught me that. Who you gonna call? There are no Ghostbusters.
Finally I spotted a cop, and hesitant, so hesitant to say anything for so many reasons, the hardest being that wall of despair that rises up when you realize they can’t help either. Or sometimes they’ll just make it all worse. Just lie to me, I prayed, an odd prayer indeed, but one determined to squeeze the blood out of this turnip somehow.
Lie to me he did, and so kindly too. He called me “dear” and he promised to go check it out, to “take care of it.” “It” was now only a block away, tangled up in some construction tape and taking out traffic cones.
For those who don’t know, lie to me, call me dear, and promise to handle it, because they are such sweet, sweet words, such music to my ears. The secret desire of my heart, let me tell you. But a lifetime of lies, a lifetime of broken promises, have really jaded my eyes.
But at that moment I really needed those lies, the promise that was not a promise at all, the words that I had to just close my eyes to hear, to drown out the truth that was pouring out of his eyes, the truth that said, this crazy woman thinks I’m Batman, she thinks I’m going to save the day, rescue some stupid girl from her self inflicted harm, single handedly fight the powers that be, end the opioid crisis, and fix all that is wrong with the world……
To which I could only respond back silently, Yes! Would you mind terribly? That would be quite lovely. Be the Batman. Serve and protect.
Of course none of those things were ever spoken, not out loud, not in a way anyone else could hear but I heard them loud and clear, every unspoken word. True to form, he promised so sweetly to “handle it” and then promptly turned off in the opposite direction.
So I “handled it” as best I could, I rallied my daughter who went and rallied another, and they came alongside this gal, engaging her in conversation, slowly maneuvering her through a construction zone. They eventually got her to her “friends,” and we waited patiently, staked out the car to make sure she wasn’t going to be the one in the driver’s seat.
My kid came alongside this gal with such patience, and I know it cost her something, her time, her peace of mind. So often I have found the spirit of a superhero hidden there within one of my kids, in their pragmaticism, their resilience, their boldness, their kindness towards others.
That’s no lie.
She doesn’t yet realize how very extraordinary she is, what a gift she has, what a lioness of light lives within her.
That’s no lie, either.
I have the most amazing kids. I don’t write about them very often, mostly just to protect their privacy. I can’t really tell their stories, they aren’t mine to tell. As Mother’s Day approaches however, I’m taking inventory, I’m looking about at four absolutely extraordinary children, all so differant, and yet each one deeply gifted with a purity of heart, a keen eye, a boldness that takes my breath away and gives me grey hairs sometimes.
Absolutely extraordinary kids who can stare the dark things right in the face and boldly come alongside the world’s collateral damage with such grace. Grace is not always the simple elegance of a ballet, sometimes it is quite messy, staggering down the street alongside Someone’s daughter.
Grace is not just “unmerited favor,” it is also a verb, it means, to do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence. My kids do that for me everyday. They grace me with their presence in the world.
By their example I now understand how we grace our heavenly Father with our presence too, with who we are, with what we do, with how we reflect Him. Grace speaks the truth of Whose we are in a way words just cannot.
Grace is a verb. An action word with a tangible substance to it that cannot lie. It speaks the truth of Whose you are. It’s that simple.