Good Enough

October 26, 2011

Last night the girls and I saw our first Christmas commercial of the season.  Lilah piped up after it was over and said, "I can't wait for Christmas and I get my DS!"  I asked her if she thought Santa would bring her one.  "Yes!"  Then I had to follow up with, "Have you been good?"  Well, I got a reaction I didn't expect.  Initially, she smiled, then a half a second later, that smile turned to a little frown, and, another second later, her bottom lip began to quiver as her eyes got very watery.  She didn't say anything else.  Poor baby!  She is good!  She's ornery sometimes and she pushes the limits quite often, but she's a good girl.  It broke my heart to think that she might not believe she's good. 

Being "good" has always been an issue for me.  When I went with my parents to OKC for our last lab work and doctor's appointment the Friday before the transplant, Mom said something about being nervous or thankful -- I don't really remember -- about Monday.  I made some joking remark about how giving Dad this kidney was the least I could do after the grief I've caused them through the years.  Mom just looked right at me with a sort of shocked expression and said, "I hope that's not why you're doing this."  It's no secret I was the more difficult of their two daughters.  And, I really do owe a debt of gratitude to my parents worth far more than any organ.  No, that's not the primary reason I donated, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't factor in somewhere. 

I've never been "good."  From the time I started school, my report card always had a handwritten note on it about my talking.  I wasn't a compliant child at home.  My teen years were tumultuous at best and I had an attitude and a selfishness that just embarrass me now.  I experimented with things I shouldn't have.  I've made huge financial mistakes.  My philosophy has always been, "Ask forgiveness and not permission," which I'm coming to understand (at age 37!) isn't necessarily the best mode of operation.  Nothing strokes my ego like hearing positive remarks and compliments from the adults who knew me during my childhood and adolescence.  I grew up to not be such a bad egg after all! 

I do have a few people fooled, though.  Just this past Sunday, an acquaintance who has been visiting our church looked at me as we were waiting on the children to dismiss and said, "I hope this doesn't sound weird, but I just see God in you."  Whoa.  I smiled and told her that was very nice of her to say, but inside I'm thinking, "That'll change if you get to know me much better!"  Her comment has stayed with me and I've continued to think about it this week.  God is in me -- I'm a believer saved by Grace.  God shows up in the things I do and in the way I treat people -- most of the time.  I always hesitate to write too deeply here about my faith.  That's not because I'm ashamed in any way; it's because I fall so short of what I think a "good" Christian looks like.  But, it's not about being good is it?  Really, it's about grace.

We've all heard the saying, "To whom much is given, much is required."  This is generally quoted when making a point about giving money or using one's talents.  I think it also applies to grace.  I've been given much grace -- by God, by my husband and children, by my parents, and by friends.  Strangers have extended grace to me; coworkers have been gracious to me.  I'm thankful there's no limit to the grace one can receive!  The other side of this is that I am required to extend grace to others.  It does seem like there may be a limit to that every now and then as my patience is often tried in these situations!  But, I remember this saying and I realize it's a requirement and I should give grace freely.

I try to consider all of this as I'm dealing with my own teenager and students here at school.  I am so thankful I am not the person it might have looked like I'd grow up to become.  Kids mess up; adults mess up, too.  Looking back, I'm grateful for the mistakes I've made (and continue to make) because I have learned from them.  My primary learning style is kinesthetic.  That means I learn by doing.  Ha!  That is true in every area of my life.  

This post is very long and if you've stayed with me to the end, thank you.  I may have said too much.  I'm a pretty open person, but I know there are probably areas of my life I should keep privatized.  I've given this a lot of thought and this is just a record of that.  I hope your Wednesday is wonderful!

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