(Contributed by Sarah Richmond. Read all about our writers here.)
That day we chased bunnies.
It was a morning like most others during a season when all three of my children attended school outside of our home. Racing against the clock between sips of coffee and wayward little feet, I prep everyone to leave for school on time, tension rising as minutes count down. I hear myself fussing over grass stained knees and quarreling siblings, my sighs and biting tone of inconvenience bubbling up and spilling all over our traveling band of ragamuffins.
Could I have squandered my new mercies already? This may be some sort of personal record. Sigh…
You know that one verse? For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15) I know itwell.
We press on, quiet in the aftermath of a tense ten minutes. A pressure growing far too familiar for any of our liking. Sirens pass. Once, then again…I sit upright, on guard behind the wheel. Soon, flashing lights and traffic back-ups reveal there is a tragedy ahead. Lives were no doubt lost right on the same stretch of pavement, the one we traveled daily. Suddenly, it’s calming words and quiet prayers that are offered as we turn our car around, seeking an alternate route. In the short time our detour takes, news spreads from phone to phone, carload to carload, mom to mom. Confirmation of a terrible accident, a tragedy far flung from misplaced shoes and backpacks, and yet still so close to home.
Tears fill eyes behind sunglasses as I wave “have a good day” at the school door, knowing another family has shared such simple and sacred exchanges for one last time. These everyday glimpses of our aching, broken world never cease, and yet, never fail to catch off guard.
Why does it take the sting of life cut short to wake me to precious life staring up at me with wondering blue eyes? Of all the things to say or offer my children, and still my mouth utters the scolding for dirty knees before we have even left the driveway. I see stained clothes to start a day instead of congratulations to the chaser of rabbits for a strong effort shown.
“You’ll catch that bunny next time buddy, with the grass stain to prove it, now let’s go to school…”
How difficult is it, truly? To pause, to breathe, to let life live–messy clothes and all? Why is the simplicity of grace beyond my giving in the moment?
Author, Stasi Eldredge says, “Mothers bestow our self-worth. And they have the ability to withhold it.” On mornings such as this, I am left comparing the worth of well-kept models versus well-cherished souls, and ache over my sin. My elevation of the insignificant above the impression of Grace to a child chasing down wonder across the morning dew.
Life and death is found between these lips of mine, and so much–too much–death surrounds us already. My plea is for Life. To speak and to give life, as I, with my own stained knees and wandering steps have known the full, merciful weight of receiving it.
Photo Credit: Nede Kun
Originally Published 9/12/2016