And it was good. Gifts were multiplied, more than we knew we had. Perhaps there are even more, so many that we cannot even imagine. On Christmas Eve, I glimpsed another kind of grace.
Friday morning my husband was scheduled to return to Minnesota. But before he left, he made breakfast, while I took the dog out for a walk. It was a cloudy, gloomy morning, and half-way around our walk, I tripped over a curb or a tree root or something and fell. It hurt, and I felt stupid and awkward besides. I limped home, feeling sort of defeated.
After breakfast, and after taking my husband to the airport, and after stopping in to the church to take care of a few things for Sunday, I took myself to urgent care to check on my ankle, which ached. It was just a precaution, I told myself. I was pretty sure it was just a sprain, but I wanted to make sure that I made the right treatments. They insisted on taking X-rays, though, and told me that I did, indeed, have the tiniest little fracture: a bone chip, they said. I have a CD of the X-rays, if I want to see for myself.
When I explained to the doctor what happened, I again felt that sense of being stupid and awkward. I tripped over a curb. Or maybe it was a tree root. It wasn't like I was doing extreme sports or anything very interesting. I couldn't blame it on ice, or my dog. I just tripped. How could that happen? I sighed.
The doctor smiled. "Happens all the time," he said.
And I felt another kind of grace, the grace of being allowed to be human. It is not the same as the grace of discovering unknown gifts, and it is not the same as the grace of being forgiven (the one I know the most about).
Sometimes I am guilty of making grace too narrow. I think of the amazing grace that saved a wretch like me. But grace is not just the word of forgiveness in my wretchedness. Grace is in the myriad of gifts that surprise me when I think I do not have enough. Grace is in beauty that surprises, stars more numerous that I can count, many voices coming together. Grace is being surprised by abundance.
And Grace is this as well: being allowed to be human, make mistakes, fall down, limp along.
It happens all the time.