“Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:16 The Message
I was talking to my best friend, Elaine the other night, one of our many discussions, about how we were raised. She commented, “I don’t remember being taught anything about right or wrong except that it was wrong to kill, other than that, everything was pretty much subjective.” She laughingly added, “and even that might have been okay depending on the circumstance.” She remembers one time her Dad switched the tags on a Christmas tree that he thought was too expensive and she remembers thinking as a child it was not right; the next day she secretly rejoiced when all the needles fell off.
But there were other things….her Uncle’s little church where she would flounce down the aisle in Sunday ruffles and sit in the front pew where her Aunt played “I’ll Fly Away” every time she asked. And another praying Aunt and Uncle who showed her the love she was missing at home. A praying Grandmother. All God’s grace.
Her home life and mine were as different as night and day. Hers, a desperate “flight or fight” situation at all times. Most days she rounded a corner to meet the fist of her mean brother, so she learned to run very fast. Thankfully there was also a “good” brother who came to her aid. Allys in a family war together, they remain close today.
Growing up her home was a loud, angry place. Mine was a haven of safety and rest; a white picket fence upbringing, we went to church and Mom stayed home to raise us. We came home from school to cookies baking and Mom asking how our day was. In her home no parent asked what happened at school; and God seemed very far away. In mine, He always seemed very near. And yet…..God’s mercy reached her where she was and kept me from wandering too far.
Two lives in very different places, but God’s sunset grace finding both.
Many years ago I stood on the banks of the river the day my best friend was baptized, and so did her folks; no doubt they were mystified by the whole thing, but happy about it just the same. God saw a little girl heart of gold, with a conscience like a sunbeam and never let go.