When my son plops down on the carpet of the store, hands on his face crying because he's lost his Lego guy, when I have no patience left to deal with irresponsibility, and we're behind schedule, and I've searched for it for fifteen minutes already....all I have left is wordless grace. A rub to his hair, and a helping hand to stand.
When my husband is angry with me...I misunderstood what he said...he felt disrespected, I felt surprised and confused...all that can be heard is wordless grace. My hands on his back, my cheek on his shoulder.
When I am in the middle of cleaning the kitchen, company on its way, dripping dishes and piled counters, my little girl needs help with her braid. She's tried and tried, and only bigger hands can separate three even strands of hair...all I should say about my agenda is nothing, and instead I offer wordless grace, stopping my words and my work and gently braiding to the ends.
I rely too much on words, really, and sometimes don't remember the power of affection. But touch is healing, and people who make mistakes, who expect rejection and a push back, need to be embraced. People who have weak spots, or feel alone, or who are weary need touch. People who need grace need affection.
When I push into the matter further, I wonder where I've missed an opportunity. What about my friend in a difficult marriage? When have I last offered her a hug? What about my neighbor who is a widow? I'm certain she is lonely. What would it mean to take her hands in mine the next time we talk on the sidewalk? I would never want to make someone uncomfortable, but I think it's important to pursue simple affection as a way to extend grace.
Take his hand. Brush her hair. Hug your friends.
When you don't know what to say, reach out your hand instead. When you forgive, hug. When you're exasperated, open your arms to someone. Touch softens everyone. All three of those scenarios above really happened to me today, and offering wordless grace through touch helped my heart possibly most of all.
Someone needs some wordless grace from you today, because it's Thursday, and it's hot outside, and summer is almost over, and no one thought life would be this difficult.
Wish I could give you a hug today. Because if you were sitting next to me right now, I would.
You know, we both could use a little grace.