Thursday, October 10, 2013

Grace Notes in Concrete

Yesterday morning, I had some time to work on my memoir project.  I took several blog posts about Valentine's Day and tried to weave them into one coherent essay.

In the middle of the morning, my words were put to a real-life test.  My spouse has been working on home repairs, and he's at his most unpleasant when repairs aren't going well.

Yesterday, repairs weren't going well.  When I asked if I could help, he snarled, "There's a whole clipboard of projects, all of which need doing."  And he stomped off, slamming the door on the way.

I was tempted to go to work early, to let him stew.  But I know that part of his persona comes out of his feeling of frustration and being overwhelmed at the extent of the project.  And I had my own words in my head:

"I think Martin Luther went too far in deciding that marriage wouldn't be a sacrament in the Lutheran church. Nothing has ever helped me understand the nature of God's love better than my marriage, except, perhaps, the love of my parents for me. Nothing else, except, perhaps Communion, is so much an 'outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible Grace' (as the Anglican Book of Common Prayer describes a sacrament).

I am always amazed and grateful when my husband forgives me for the boneheaded things I do. I'm even more amazed that he's often forgiving me for making the same mistakes again and again.

These are not major mistakes. I don't go out and cheat on him, for example. But I'm often irritated and grumpy, and I lash out, and I realize I've been a jerk, so I apologize and ask for forgiveness. And he kisses me and says, "Don't worry about it." And again and again, I feel blessed with a kind of marital grace.

And of course, I do the same for him. And in this daily practice of love and forgiveness, I come to understand God's love for me--and I am able to carry a similar love out into the world."

And so, I went to help. I am not the best at home repairs, but the work I did was not work that he had to do.  And there is value to companionship, to not feeling alone in the world.  We worked until lunch and enjoyed a picnic by the pool.  And then I went to work.

When I returned home, my husband had written a love note of sorts in the concrete that he had poured:  "Kristin rocks."  I love the permanence of it.  I love knowing that it would probably not exist, had I not had my words in my head, which convinced me to forgive my husband's bad mood, even before he asked for it.

I love this idea of grace.  It's hard for me to imagine being part of a religious community that's not firmly rooted in the idea of grace.  It's one of my favorite aspects of being a Lutheran.

No comments: