It was a time-clock-punchin' day again. I do love my job very much, but it seems the last few times I've been scheduled, there's some sort of catastrophe brewing. Today was no different as I was leaving 2 little sickies home with John, on top of the usual chaos. A stomach virus hit our house over the weekend. It seems to be running it's course among cousins and other family members, so it finally came to stay with us. Frank started, and Rose soon followed suit. At no age is it a treat to be sick and vomiting...but at two, yuck. They know they don't feel well, but aren't quite quick enough to make it to a target on time. This means more laundry, more carpet cleaning, more mattress and bed cleaning, more baths...and on and on. Last night we moved Rosie's toddler bed down into our room so we could hear her better, so that helped. But there were probably half a dozen times when we had both two-year olds vomiting at the same time...it's like they could hear each other through the walls and a chain reaction would occur. Poor Charlie was caught in the crossfire at one point and came out of his bed crying "Why did Frank have to puke on me!?" "Frank, why did you?!" (One of the few negatives of sharing a bed with a sibling, I guess.)
Anyhow, on my silent drive in to work this morning, I was reflecting on the word "grace." It's a topic we've talked about very briefly in my 2nd grade religion class recently, and like many of our subjects, leads me to further reflection on my own, later. The word grace simply means "God's life in us" and I've always thought it to mean an undeserved, freely given gift. I suspected I guess, that it was something to help us through various moments. Something to carry us through hard times, or moments when we need His guidance or assistance. Today though, I thought perhaps grace isn't just something to carry us through difficult times. Perhaps grace Is the difficulty, the suffering. Jesus' life on earth, especially in His last days, was one full of unfathomable pain and suffering and perhaps through grace, He allows us to embrace that and draw nearer to Him through our own difficulties, however great or small. Maybe I need to embrace the suffering, difficulty, hardship, frustration, whatever it is, as the gift; God's life (even His cross) in us. As I hold that bucket and watch my 2 year old wretch uncontollably, frustrated that they've already missed, and splattered the carpet or bed linens one more time; the next time I find myself folding 3 extra loads of bed linens and bath towels as the virus continues to pass through; or even the next time I cook a beautiful meal only to be told "Yuck, I'm not eating it!" I hope to recognize God's grace; His life in me, drawing me nearer to Him on the cross, and allowing Him to flow through me...that I might be more compassionate, more charitable, more forgiving, more kind and loving, more at peace.