Wednesday, July 9, 2008

one more balloon

slam. the phone hit the wall. silence. "...and i cant get away, cant get away..." i think, in my sleep deprived state, i realized what an ironic ringtone i chose. it seemed cute when i chose it, but at 645, it was downright mocking. the day went slightly downhill from there. i stumbled out of bed to answer the phone, which summoned me to work three hours earlier than i had planned. this meant that the time i had alloted for my freelance writing was now shoved back til when i got off work at 6pm. work was no better, i was rooming people in the wrong places, mixing up charts, and slowly wading through prescriptions that i couldnt pronounce. i made one very significant blunder that i caught as the doctor was in the room with the patient. i feverishly wavered between praying she wouldnt notice, and bracing myself for the moment when she did. when the door opened, i just knew i was in for it. i had forgotten a vital step of taking an oxygen level, and i was well aware that was a faux pas that was nearly unforgiveable. out came the physician...and she called me into her office. i could feel the tears welling up already. i was exhausted, clumsy, and forgetful all day, and i knew i deserved the chastisement i was sure would come. what i got was an act of mercy.

as i walked in to the office, and sat down, i felt the doctors eyes on me and i lifted my head.
i was met with a smile.
"grace...i just want you to know that you are doing a tremendous job." thats all.
with a wink, she had just done the impossible. extended Love in a moment when Law would have been expected, even justified.

i knew she had noticed my blunder, and still, she knew what i needed. rob bell tells this compelling illustration of Grace in his book, "several years ago, i conducted a wedding ceremony on a saturday afternoon in june. the bride wore a white summer dresss, the groom a white linen shirt. they insisted on the most simple ceremony possible. it was held in a park in a grove of trees. their family and friends stood in a circle with the three of us in the middle. i began with a welcome, they exchanged vows and rings, i prounounced them, they kissed, everyone clapped. the ceremony took seven minutes. they were then handed a cluster of helium balloons. the balloons were symbols of their past marriages, pregnancies they had chosen to terminate, relationships that did not last. as a picture of starting over, they wanted their first act as a married couple to be letting the balloons go. they walked into the grove of trees. just the two of them. standing in knee deep grass, exchanging words only they could hear. then they raised the balloons and let go. we watched the balloons float away til they drifted from sight.
there are moments you wonder if youll ever forget. moments that sear themselves on your conscience. that moment was one for me.

a few years later their marriage imploded.

she moved an hour away,

they divorced.

i finish with this story because life is messy. gut wrenching, risky. things dont turn out well. sometimes they dont turn out at all. sometimes everything falls apart. we're tempted to shut ourselves off, fortify the walls around our heart, and forge ahead, vowing we'll never open ourselves up again. but i have to believe that God can put anything back together.

i have to believe God that Jesus invites us to trust is as good as He says He is.
loving
forgiving.
merciful.
God does not run out of balloons."

2 comments:

Daley said...

saw the photo on your side bar from Drew Aspinwall. I love that guy.

grace said...

thanks daley :) yep he's pretty cool! (if he reads this, then we'll encourage his ego)