That Makes Sense
When I was twelve years old I came home after school each day to an empty house--parents at work and older sisters in a variety of after school activities. We lived on 25 acres on the outskirts of a town of 600.
It was pretty quiet.
I would walk in the door, turn on General Hospital and prepare my bowl of cheerios and peanut butter sandwich.
Then, I'd grab my other supplies:
aerosol hairspray (this was before we cared about the ozone)
I was not a serial murderer.
I was just pretty sure that there was one on his way to my house.
My logic was this: If an intruder came in to attack me, I could blind him with hairspray and, while he is weak with aquanet exposure, I could stab him with the butcher knife and survive the day.
My security system was never put to the test. In fact, if I ever actually heard someone on our driveway I would hide the knife and hairspray out of embarassment. So, the only serial killers in any sort of danger were those who approached on foot.
What does this have to do with that lovely beach scene? Plenty.
My husband booked this fantastic Air bnb two hours south of Puerto Vallarta--one hour by car and the other by boat. It was gorgeous and stunning and completely isolated. We were off grid and all alone. Thrilling, right?
Unless you grew up sitting next to hairspray in fear for your life.
While Daman hapilly marched around the beach collecting coconuts and building crab traps, I paced the floor and wondered what I'd done to my family.
Then, I found out about the hurricane.
It is in these moments that it really comes in handy to be married to a therapist. Daman talked me down. He also prayed with me, mentioning something in his prayer that caused a deep shift. He prayed for me to be gentle with myself, to see that my fears make sense based on my experiences in the past.
And I stopped begin afraid.
I stopped being afraid because I could look at my past and say to myself "It totally makes sense for me to be scared right now." I wasn't only fighting fear, I was fighting the guilt around my fear. Why couldn't I just sieze the adventure like Daman? Why did I have to be such a chicken? But, in that moment, I realized that different pasts simply mean different fears. I didn't have to stay afraid, but I also didn't have to beat myself up for being afraid. My fear made sense. I found grace in my story.
We step into each day carrying the stories of every day before. And the stories of the past shape our perspective, fears, and joys. Our stories, if given the lens of grace, can make sense of our reactions. It doesn't mean we are locked into those reactions, it just helps us hold them away from us and give ourselves grace as we say, "That makes sense that I feel this way. That makes sense that this habit is hard for me to break. That makes sense that I struggle with this."
In these moments of grace, we can change. We can grow.
I believe Jesus Christ sees our stories. He knows the Morgen that sat by the TV with hairspray and a knife. He doesn't judge her for being afraid, because he knows the story that hatched that fear, a story that perhaps I don't even know or remember. He also knows the Morgen on the beach, in the pew, or kneeling in tears by her bed. He sees her. He knows her stories. And He knows how to help her move on.
When we find grace in our stories, then we can make sense of them. And maybe we sit with the story as it is, accepting it with kindness. Or, maybe we decide to pick up the pen and change direction.
We survived the hurricane. We rode out the storm. We were not murdered by pirates or jaguars. It turned out to be a most fantastic adventure. But, the greatest keepsake I carry is the memory of the moment I learned to look at my fears and failures in context of my stories and find some grace there.
Also, the mangoes were absolutely amazing. But still, grace is better.