Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Extended Days of Grace

Yesterday, we left the house at 5 AM and traveled over the highway for fifteen hours before parking the car in the driveway in front of the townhouse where my mother-in-law lives. She is 92 (just like Marge) and feisty (just like Marge). Over the past seven years, my mother-in-law has had multiple heart attacks, multiple hospital stays, and scared us to death multiple times. But, each time, she rallies. Because she's feisty.

The first heart attack seven years ago was the scariest, and we thought for sure we'd lost her. H spent many days at her bedside while I took care of trying to create a stable home for our two teenagers in a new town, new school, new house. But Nano grew stronger and stronger, and before we knew it, she was moving back to her very own house, her very own bed, her very own kitchen where she could cook her very own food. We were stunned. And grateful. And H decided to name these days the Extended Days of Grace, realizing that every moment - every extra day we get with her is a gift of grace.

We're spending a couple of days here with Nano before we continue driving to the east coast. When we get there, we'll meet up with my side of the family, and watch our youngest daughter graduate from college. Right now, I'm sitting in Panera (Nano doesn't have wi-fi - doesn't need it, because of the community that surrounds her; but that's a different post for a different day). I'm waiting to meet up with one of my best girlfriends from high school. When she gets here, we will hug and squeal and cry and jump up and down and talk really loudly. The manager might put us out.

If I were keeping a list, these days would surely be on it.

These are the days when social media takes a back seat to face-time. For the most part, I'm kicking my phone and my laptop to the curb. I may be hard to find around here for the next day or two, and I ask for your grace with that.

I'm thinking about Sara. The one we called Gitzen Girl. Before she died, she taught us to live face-time completely. To be all there when we get the privilege of sitting face-to-face with one another. To turn off the phone, close the laptop and give the other person our full attention. If you ever had the chance to talk with Sara, you know she lived that. I only spoke with her once, face-to-face. It was through the computer screen, just about two weeks before she died. It felt as if I was the only person in the world. It was a gift that touched a deep place in my soul. I know there are two sides of the "regifting" camp. But I think both sides would agree that grace is one gift that never gets old, no matter how many times it get passed along.

When was the last time someone extended grace to you? What would you need to give up in order to experience face-time more fully?