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Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Back-to-School Story

(Due to conditions beyond my capabilities, Wednesday's blog is one day late.  So just pretend it's Wednesday, and we'll be fine.  I promise.)
When I was in my early 30's, I went back to school to become a court reporter.  There were probably 20 ladies in the class, most right out of high school.  I was one of only two students above the age of 25.

There was a group of about 6 ladies who hung around together, ate lunch together, went to movies together, that kind of stuff.  They loved to get in a tight little huddle and whisper and laugh.  Sometimes one would look up and focus on somebody in the class, then she'd turn back to the group and whisper and then all of them would laugh.  It was very obvious that they were laughing about somebody in the class. 

It was like being back in high school.  Ugh…

I kept hearing my name whispered throughout the day between these girls, and I didn't like it.  So finally I went over to them when they were in their little huddle and said, "I keep hearing my name.  Are you talking about me?" 

They were stunned – deer in the headlights kinda thing – and very quickly assured me that I was not the Carol they were talking about.  It was the other Carol in the class.  I asked them what she had done to make them talk about her so much.  Apparently, they thought she was trying to be teacher's pet, always had the right answers, always had her homework done, dressed funny and talked funny. 

My turn to be stunned.  I had not picked up on that at all.  Okay, maybe the teacher's pet thing a little.

As time went along, they got bolder and bolder with their disdain about Carol.  I saw them snub her and ignore her.  I tried to avoid the group and ignored their whispers. 

One day in typing class, one of the girls did not bring any carbon paper to class.  Not the worst crime in the world, but the teacher was very strict and would not allow you to stay in the class for that day.  You were either prepared and stayed or you were unprepared and dismissed from the class. 

So this girl was frantically asking those around her for carbon paper because she could not afford to miss a class.  No one in her little circle had any to spare. 

And about that time, Carol said, "I have some you can use."  Much to everyone’s surprise, she handed her a piece of carbon paper.  The whole room stopped and stared.  This girl in particular had been very rude to Carol, and here was Carol offering her the very thing she needed to stay in class.  She took it, mumbled a "thank you" and sat down at her typewriter.

That girl had no right to any kindness from Carol, but Carol did it anyway.  It was so simple, really.  Just offering what was needed.  That’s grace for you.

God does the same for us. Reaching, reaching, waiting, waiting, and then showing us what we don't deserve – love, caring, tenderness.  Grace.

From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;  John 1:16 (CEB)

Thank you, Loving Father.  Thank you for grace.  Thank you for people who show us grace.  Thank you for allowing us to be the grace for someone else.


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