Grace by Surprise

This is what I wanted to say, "I hope you come to a really rough patch in your life and someone treats you with the lack of sympathy and understanding you are showing me." That is what I was prepared to say when I turned my car around in the motel parking lot on Cape Cod and confronted the owner. I was furious and I wanted him to know how badly he treated me and I wanted him, I'll confess it, to suffer.

A year ago I was on an 11,000 mile, eleven week road trip on the East Coast, a Grace Odyssey. It was Labor Day and I needed to move on. I'd tentatively said I'd stay two nights at this little dive motel but changed my mind before the official check-out time. The owner said he was going to charge me two nights anyway. I was desperate, broke, and didn't have that money to spare. I'd sleep in my car instead. (Had done it before, did it again.)  He was mean, nasty, got right up in my face and said really awful things. So I got my back up. Duh.

As I was leaving, I saw him out watering flowers and circled by to tell him that I hoped someone would find him in a real rough spot and treat him as badly as he had treated me. Mad, mad, furious, mad. Spitting mad.

I rolled down my window. He looked up. And this is what I said,  "I hope that some day when you are in a tough spot, a real tough spot like this, somebody treats you with grace. I hope you experience gracious generosity. I wish you much grace in your life."  And I smiled sincerely and drove away.

Where did THAT come from?  Not my intent. So I guess the Holy Spirit has a shot with us, working with us, working in us, after all. Surprise! It was my grace odyssey. I went off searching for signs of grace. The last place I expected to find it was within myself.  Who knows.

Dear God, thank you for working your grace through us even when we are not inclined to be gracious. Help us to be more open to the signs of your grace in the world around us and to be instruments of your love, to show Jesus to others by what we do and say.  Amen


Jan Erickson-Pearson

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