Wednesday, October 2, 2013

40 Days of Gratefulness - Day 51

On Monday, an old friend buried her 7 year old son. And while, burying a child must be one of the most difficult life experiences ever, her and her husband exuded grace. Some of us, if we're not careful, miss the experience ... grace, that is. Oh, we believe it exists, we get it later and we know it happens but ... when you get to experience it, witness it first hand, it is truly sublime.

'Exuded grace.' I struggled with that phrase as I wanted to honor my old friend and her family appropriately. So, I decided to look it up on the Internet. Exude is defined as 'to exhibit in abundance' or 'to project abundantly.' That seemed to fit. But what about this grace thing? I looked that up, too. Grace (in Christian belief) is 'the free and unmerited favor of God.' It's 'unmerited divine assistance.' Ooh, that thing could make me shout right now. Yup, 'exuded grace' most certainly captured my thought. And that was exactly what I, along with countless others have witnessed over these last few days.

My old friend is an author, which means she has a gift for expressing herself though words, for being fearless in sharing her heart and for bringing us along on the journey. And that is exactly what she did during this past week. She shared her heart using words and brought us all along on the journey. Here are a few of her Facebook posts.

Folks minds were blown but ... experiencing grace ... witnessing faith will do that. After those posts, I don't think anyone knew what to expect at the service. But, the service was an amazing tribute to their boy's life. His nurse spoke, his teacher spoke, there was a Liturgical dance to Vicki Yohe's I'm at Peace. The first verse says:
I'm at peace. Even though my heart is breaking. I'm at peace. I never thought I would be shaken but you came and laid your hands on me and now ... Oh, Lord you came and laid you hands on me and now, I can see, my storm has moved away.
'My storm has moved away.' In the midst of losing their son, in the midst of this tragedy, these folks were showing us what faith and 'unmerited divine assistance' really looked like. It had been in each and every post throughout the week. It was in their demeanor as they entered the sanctuary. But it was never more apparent than the moment my old friend and her husband spoke at their boy's homegoing.

As they approached the pulpit, folks clasped their hands and grew nervous. We were sad, heartbroken even, but resigned to being strong and not crying out over their unimaginable pain but we had no idea. We had no idea how their story would minister to each and every one of us long after they had laid their son to rest.

My old friend spoke with her husband at her side. They spoke about how being a parent to their son was a blessing, how he was their assignment and that they were grateful for the experience. They spoke about how our response to others should edify and uplift them. They spoke about prayer and praised God for the 7 years they spent with their son.

But, peppered in between their funny stories, fond memories and tears was a simple love story. A love story about faith, about tranformative power, about 'unmerited divine assistance,' called grace and about a beloved Son who would die that we would all have peace.

So on this Day 51 of 40 days of gratefulness, I'm grateful for old friends ... who exude grace. #beblessed #40daysofgratefulness