A Lesson In Grace

Let me tell you....I absolutely love grace.  To me it is the foundation of my life, my beliefs, my triumphs, and my failings.  I am a full blown believer and lover of grace.
What my father has taught me about grace both in his words and his actions could fill an ocean.  One of these days I might even write a book about it because it, and he, have meant so very much to my life...to my heart.  In many ways, my father's greatest gift to me is allowing me to learn from his failings.  Those lessons have made it easier to learn from my own.
The picture below was taken when I was probably about 6 years old.  We were living on a working farm in Yellville, Arkansas at the time.  My life was perfect (through the eyes of the child whom's body they were in).  I love this picture because of the way my father is looking at me.  Those adoring eyes, fully enraptured in whatever in the world I was saying....and believe me, I am talking...I was always talking. :)))  I was "captivating" to my father in this picture.  Every little girl should have a moment like this to hold on to throughout their life.  I am so grateful for this one.

Today my father turns 70 years old, and I can hardly believe that is possible.  In my eyes and heart, he will always look just like this to me.  His heart surgery earlier this year was a wake-up call to me, but for some reason the "70" seems to be hitting me harder. 

My father is talented (frankly beyond talented), smart, funny, flawed, imperfect (don't tell my Granny that though :)), tenderhearted, and has the prettiest blue eyes EVER.  He is human though...in the past, he and I have done a lot of growing up together (and on our own).  It has not been easy...not by a long shot....but it has been worth it.  We have found understanding, respect, and grace for each other and ourselves that I am not sure we really had before...even as much as we loved each other...as much as we have always loved each other. 

Grace...very much like forgiveness...is a beautiful thing. 

One of the hardest things for children to deal with when they grow up is the fact that their parents are really human and not superheroes.  This was a particularly difficult lesson for me, and I must say that on the other side of the lesson...my father fares better as a human. Really.  Perfection, whether it is what you strive for personally or demand from others, is really not all it is cracked up to be. What is beautiful?  Those who live in spite of their shortcomings...in spite of their imperfections.  They get up each morning and they try again.  They live again. They love again.  That...THAT is what my father has taught me.  Life doesn't end when I fail. Life doesn't end when I lose someone. Life doesn't end when I am not perfect.  Life doesn't end when someone fails me.  Life doesn't end...until the grave....and then, well then is where it will really get interesting. :)

My father has taught me the most important lesson of all...grace.  Not simply grace shown for others (which is beyond important), but grace shown to ourselves.  Grace lived.

I love you Dad!!!

Thank you for all you have taught me.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for adoring me...even now...as a very flawed adult.  Mainly...thank you for growing...with me. :)

"Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?” ~ Aidan Chambers, This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)