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Look grace in the face

boy-or-girlAnnie (not her real name) is indignant, “I can’t believe he just asked me that!”

I’d stepped into the back of the warehouse to get a bar of soap and a bottle of shampoo for the lady asking for them. Annie had been refilling the bins that held each, but she is on her feet now.

“What did he ask you, Annie?”

That boy wanted to know if I’m a boy or a girl! I should have told him it depends on which day you ask!” she answers, adding a few choice names she wished she’d called him.

What I reply out loud is, “Wow. That was pretty rude of him. I’m sorry that happened.”

But what I reply in my head is, “Lord, forgive me!” And “Thank you, Lord, for this second chance!”

Here’s why.

Rewind two hours.

Jeff and I are driving to the warehouse that is Manna House. We see a person on the sidewalk waiting to cross the corner of the Parkway and Governors Drive. Early 20s; thin build; short black hair; black t-shirt; skinny jeans.

“Boy or girl?” Jeff asks me.

“Girl,” I say. “Boys’ jeans aren’t that high-waisted.”

A flippant little exchange just between two people in a car, right? We laugh. Drive on. Forget about it.


Until 20 minutes later.

Caught. I’m face to face with this very girl from the street.

A real girl. With a heart. With a name. A girl deserving respect as a unique creation of God.

I introduce myself to my co-worker for the night: Annie. We talk about our names. She says hers is common among Catholics. I ask if she grew up Catholic. Yes. And now? She says she doesn’t go to church; she’s more into non-religious spirituality.

She doesn’t ask me about my faith. But if she did, if I were honest, I’d have to say I’m an imperfect believer, still troubled by bad habits (like flippantly disrespecting others, even if only behind their backs) but trying to be more like Jesus. Give away more of his love. Give away more of his gifts.  

Like grace.

~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~

My little interchanges with Annie, about Annie, were reminders to me of my need to receive grace. Even as I was judging Annie on the side of the road in a way that would have been hurtful to her if she’d heard, grace had me covered, undeserving as I was.

But I was given double-grace Thursday night.  My second dose came in an opportunity to get it right—by meeting Annie in person. To look her in the eye. To look grace in the face. 

The more grace we see, the more grace we’ll give.

It feels good to give grace. It feels right. It feels loving.
It feels like something Jesus would do.

* * *

Think about how you’ve received grace from God.

Then about who could receive a dose from God through you.

Day 8 of . . .



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