Sunday, June 30, 2013

Barefoot Grace

Love this shot of Cooper performing his household chores clad  in a witch hat and a swimsuit!

I checked my watch and smiled.  Finally, we arrived to church on time.  I smugly exited my car, hoping any parishioner in the parking lot took note of our punctuality.  Mentally I was patting myself on the back and giving an acceptance speech for the award of "Best Mom Ever for Getting Four Boys to Church on Time (and doing it all by herself)."

Just as I was getting ready to thank the academy, Connor's voice belted out from the backseat.

"Oh no," he exclaimed.  "I forgot my shoes."

Connor is eight, too old to consider shoes a non-essential.  

 The fact we were inches away from the church doors made me pause and stifle the flurry of comments I so desperately wanted to unleash.

It was one of those pivotal mom moments: Do I run home and have him grab his shoes or let him waltz into the building barefoot (Jesus-style)?

I could have picked option A.  I was pretty sure a "No shoes, no service" sign isn't affixed to the church doors, but something in me felt like a barefoot eight-year-old child might raise a few eyebrows and cause a few snickers.

We selected option B.  During the whole commute home, I replayed the morning.  I thought about all the time he fiddled with Legos, bickered with his brother, and lounged around on the couch.  There were plenty of moments (millions even, it seemed) for him to snag a pair of shoes and pull them on his feet.

Connor was quiet during our ride.  He could feel the steam radiating from my seat flowing back on him.  He finally uttered, "I'm sorry."

I ruminated on the way to respond.  I could bombard him with a lengthy lecture.  I could scream.  I could pout.  Instead, I decided to put things in perspective and forgive.  I knew what he might remember most from the morning was not the shoes, but my response.

"It's OK Connor," I said.  "Mistakes happen.  I make them too.  Let's just think about shoes next time."

A peace immediately swirled through the van.

He grabbed his shoes from home and we finally arrived back at the church (late).  I slipped into the church's sanctuary and fell into my seat.  I listened to my pastor recount a childhood story where he accidentally cracked his grandfather's car window.  He spoke about his grandfather's kind response to his mistake and how at that moment he truly understood God's grace and forgiveness for what it is: a gift not earned or deserved.

I thought about Connor and the shoes (or lack there of) and felt hopeful that I showed him similar grace.  I hope he saw a small sliver of the grace that can be offered by one very imperfect mother and learned about the infinite Grace extended by a loving God.  

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