We had such sad news this week. My son Matthew’s friend Jason died, a young man we remember best as a sweet and shy seventh grader. To put a positive spin on this would be a crime. He was a boy who struggled, and that is all there is to say.
The day after Matt told me Jason died, I received a gift of grace from a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. It’s strange how things like this work. One moment you’re defeated, without an explanation for something heartbreaking. Then out of the blue something wonderful happens and healing seems possible. A path opens up.
I saw my friend Martha at a holiday party down the block. She stood in the kitchen like a female version of Barack Obama, flashing the most radiant smile and leaning against the counter with an easy, casual and confident pose. I was astonished. Not long ago she was the victim of a random assault and nearly died. I wondered how it was possible to become this ray of light after the trauma she experienced. And yet there she was like a miracle. The opposite of Jason’s death.
I didn’t want to be intrusive and ask about her recovery. Instead, I decided to tell her how it felt to be with her that day, how comforting it was to remember that recovery is possible, and how I loved seeing her shine. Thursday is Thanksgiving, the official day to give thanks, but I will be thankful forever for the moment I saw her and slowly realized that hope is reasonable and that there is true grace to be said every day.
Thursday will be busy, busy with lots of cooking and arranging-food, chairs, people. Most likely, there will be a grand grace with a tribute to family and collective good fortune. I am going to look around the table to find my true grace. That’s the plan. I hope you do too.