Maui

Some sacred spaces are easier to recognize than others.  Some gifts are easier to accept than others.

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It’s March in Minneapolis.  The cruelest month I think, although it vies with April.  In March we about despair that we’ll ever see any color other than white and gray again.  But then as we slog through the cinder/slush of March and April every once in awhile there’s a teaser.  A mini thaw, and you start to think maybe you’ve heard a birdsong or that your eyes aren’t deceiving you and maybe that’s a tiny bud there on the tree…but no, then it snows again and your hopes are buried just like your car under another monstrous white dump.

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It’s been in this cruel month that we’ve been blessed to spend two whole weeks in Hawaii, one of them with our daughters – our last family vacation before Maggie gets married and everything changes.  And on top of everything this trip was a gift.  That’s right, a gift from some generous friends.  I’m embarrassed to say it out loud.

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It’s a gift we don’t deserve.  We didn’t earn.  We didn’t ask for.  It’s lavish and over-the-top and we feel spoiled rotten.  And so for the first few days we were here all I felt was guilt. I thought, I shouldn’t let myself enjoy this.  I thought of many other people who work so hard and would love to be here too.

And then God whispered “Grace.”

“It’s grace, grace, and more grace.  All grace.

You do nothing to make the snow melt at home.  You do nothing to send the waves tumbling onto the beach here.  The sun rises and sets here.  And there.

And none of it happens because you are good enough and I withhold nothing because you are bad enough.” 

All this grace whispering made me think of a friend from long ago…a northerner who had been traveling in the south on business.  He sat down for breakfast at a diner one morning and ordered the special.  When the waitress put the plate down in front of him he pointed to some thick white grainy substance and asked what it was because he knew whatever it was he hadn’t ordered it.

“Them’s grits, honey!  They just come!” she said.

It struck our friend that that’s grace.  It’s like grits.  It just comes.

So today, whether it’s just a shaft of sunlight, or a baby’s toes, or melting snow, or a gorgeous sunset, or a gentle spring rain, it’s all grace.  It just comes.

Where are you seeing evidence of God’s grace today?

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