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Three grace encounters

A test

A Sunday interaction. Concern and confusion about how the world has changed, the morals of the young people, the stubborn uncooperative ways of her very own body. So much shifting and switching at rapid speed.

“Well at least we don’t have anybody with a sex change”, in the family, that is. Dropped awkwardly right in the middle of the exchange. Where did that come from? The recent headlines? A secret fear? A worst case scenario?

Her squirming discomfort at the silence on the other end of the phone after expressions of dismay at the changing morals of the society. She certainly isn’t the first older person to feel such. “Which morals are you referring to?” I really didn’t know for sure. Not sure she exactly knew either.

Confession that she was working hard to accept the tattoos of someone who had entered her life. Someone who snuck into her world through the door of kinship. This tattoo bearer is loved by someone that she herself loves dearly. My unhelpful response that tattoos are mainstream now.

“But I don’t judge people”, she said. An earnest expression of desire to be such a grace bearing soul bubbled up from below the surface. Then an honest admission on the judgment issue. “but I haven’t really been tested yet.” What will she do when the test comes? What will each of us do?

You are not alone

Crossing paths in a quiet place, a peaceful alcove inviting those who are weary to soak in nature, God’s presence and the joy of watching children at play. A chance for parent to rest and breathe and remove self from the hustle and bustle of the everyday. Two Adirondack chairs side by side.

We have history, this mom and me. A meandering path that has crossed, run parallel and diverged over twenty plus years. We caught up, surface level at first, then quickly went a little deeper. We have shared experience and been in vulnerable and painful places together. Yet it took almost an hour before the current core fear and vulnerability trickled up to the surface. Hints were dropped and then connections made.

Tapes of abomination and wrath of God put in place early in life. Now crippling suspicion that my child, my beloved and precious one, may walk and live life in a place that was so condemned. Fear and terror strike at the heart’s core. What will this mean? Can I do something, anything, to change this story? Am I at fault? Will my child be rejected? Will I be cast out?

Tears welled up. Human to human, mother to mother, turning to face one another. Grasping hands, eye to eye, the words flowed out, “you are not alone.”


Stopping by on a mission, party in hours. Intimate, fun and eclectic shop full of wares with appeal to young and old. The aura slowed my pace. The clerk wanted to engage in talk. Clearly things were on her mind. There was space for interaction and the mission could idle for a time.

Suddenly, she poured out her heart. A broken relationship and the pain of a secret life kept from mom and dad. Fear of rejection and damnation by the childhood religious folks so interwoven in her family story. Working on a letter, a desperate plea for acceptance and love even when minds and hearts and souls would need to be changed.

Neither of us quite knew how we got to this vulnerable place, but my own heart whispered to treat this with tenderness and care. A response welled up from deep within. A place of kinship with a heart that wants to be known and loved. “Most mothers given time and space, will come to accept and love unconditionally their child.”

Sharing this story over cards with a son, a relationship where occasional dreams of a do-over touch this mother’s core. His response, “mothers should rule the world.” In many ways, we do. If we wear garments of grace, a compassionate and kind kingdom will come.