The family’s dinner rode in the passenger seat as I changed lanes, working my way toward the on-ramp, directed home. This was my first take-out excursion since the onslaught of Covid-19 and under the “stay at home” order for our state. My mind was occupied with this concern and, as I was on a familiar route, the details of the road were not registering. Then a car pulled into my path.
A second or two is sufficient time to think a multitude of thoughts…
“Oh God, not again!”
“This will screw me up even more!”
“Should I accelerate or brake?”
My previous worries of pandemic were superimposed by panic and self-preservation. I had been through an accident of this nature before and the pain of that previous collision now fogged my mind.
Despite my speeding brainwaves, I was frozen.
Once at a stop, I sat in the car motionless.
Pedestrians and police came to my aide. Physically I felt unhurt, but I struggled to speak and then I began to tremble. What had happened? I knew I had been hit, but somehow I could not comprehend the whole of it. My thoughts circled around the events I knew, trying to piece together the parts I did not know. It was a futile cycling. I was in shock.
Gratefully, I was physically unharmed in the accident. The adrenaline ran its course and exhaustion took its place, leading to a healing place of rest.
In the days and weeks to follow, my mind continued to replay the event. I could not get over the fact that I had been paralyzed by fear. This was the one enemy I had been actively looking in the eye and moving against, lest it gain territory in my life. Yet in the accident I blacked out.
This felt very much like failure.
Fred Rogers said, “Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”
This was my opportunity to grow by grabbing onto grace.
I was still loved by my husband, despite the destruction to our car.
I was still loved by my children, despite dinner falling on floorboards.
I am still loved by God, despite my imperfection.
For years now, I have been looking at how I can be a healthier version of me. When I was young, I remember thinking, “Don’t do life that way,” when looking at the choices of others, and so would often do the opposite behavior. More often than not, a counter behavior was not a healthier one.
In an effort to be “better,” I believed I could be best. It was a lie that I could become like God, knowing good from evil, avoiding collision and thusly becoming the perfect person.
Mankind was not created with x-ray vision. A normal (and healthy!) human being cannot see collision around a corner. I cannot see what danger lies ahead, my body was not designed to do so. I am normal and healthy in my limitations.
This led me to question whether I have the ability to overcome the trauma or fear resulting from previous incidents. What if I don’t learn? What if I don’t get any better than I am right now?
I am loved exactly as I am.
Is it because Mr. Rogers says so? Well, that helps, but he is not my authority. So many books of the Bible reference the love of God that the words of Mr. Rogers resonate likewise within. I have actually been overwhelmed this week by verses of this Big Love!
“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NLT
The evidence of real love is the sacrifice of forgiveness.
“You mean more to me than the car, the dinner, the imperfection….”
One of the Guidelines of living Untethered (as written in my original post) is: “feeling relieved by the limits of my own strength and resources, knowing my ends are the beginning of the strengths and resources of God and of others….”
Feeling relieved…relieved…by my limitations! When does anyone ever say that? But I am relieved that I do not have to carry the weight of failure or imperfection! I can keep on colliding…not on purpose, of course, but when it happens…and it will…I can keep my grip on grace!
What are you clinging to? Are you, like me, trying to be that perfect person? Do you disappoint yourself when, surprised with the unexpected, you freeze, fight or flee? Do you think “why am I not better than this by now?”
Grab onto grace and feel the relief, because you are loved exactly as you are.