Monday, August 15, 2011

The Visibility of Grace

"You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden"  Matthew 5:14

If you know me personally, you know I am a total introvert.  I don't like being the center of attention and I don't like talking to people I don't know well.  Heck, sometimes I suck at talking to people I do know (and even love) well.  (Mr T is shouting out a huge AMEN to that right now)

When we brought lil Taz into our family, my dreams of ambiguity were not only thrown out the window; they were thrown out a 15-story window, splattered on the sidewalk below and then ran over by a garbage truck.  My family's daily life of obscurity was gone and we must all learn to adjust to the ever invading public eye and tongue.

Sometimes I accept my lot with grace; sometimes resentment.  At those times my Father, full of mercy and grace, gently corrects me.  When I get annoyed at too many stares, too many questions, He whispers for what shame did my perfect, blameless son endure for you?  Is showing grace in this situation really that big of a deal?

Matthew 5 says we are the light of the world ... a light to shine before others ... so that others may see ... and glorify our Father.  I don't think this means He wants us to be the center of attention, but rather a humble mirror reflecting the only One worthy to be the center of attention.

We've had our share of invasive, insensitive and just plain stupid questions over the last year and a half.  Recently someone at a local swimming pool was trying to wrap their brain around my family dynamics.  We were in a pretty diverse part of town and so there were lots of brown babes.  This lady, let's call her Jane Slow, was full of questions and concerns.  She was just sure there was a little girl there that must be Taz's twin.  I never saw said girl, but according to Jane Slow, they looked absolutely IDENTICAL (if you ignore the obvious physical differences between male and female, apparently).  Anyhow, after the usual "which one's are your real kids" (insert nails down a chalk board), she asked what might be the most unusual question I've had to date - this time about Raven; "Did you adopt her because she has the dwarfism gene?"  As often happens during situations like these, I was rendered nearly speechless, my only response "nope - that one's got my genes - just incredibly short with a great big head."

I guess what I'm trying to get at here is this:  If my mirror was less cloudy, it would contain a lot more grace, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Rather than regretting my lack of a quick-witted rebuttal, I would spend more time praying for wisdom, patience, love, kindness and self control.  No matter what we do or how hard we try, our family will always be visible.  But, let me strive to be visible with grace.

On the other side of that coin, God has also given me the job of protector to my little cubs.  There are certain questions, sometimes well-meaning but ill judged ones, that are plain hurtful and harmful to our children.  For a sample of those questions, click here.  I will continue to educate and advocate as I've always done.  But, perhaps it should be with more joy, grace and forgiveness than judgement and scorn.  My dad used to always say "you can't fix stupid,"  but I say you can love stupid.  Besides, you don't know what you don't know ... until you know it.  I've said my fair share of stupid on numerous occasions, I'm sure.

I know my imperfect little family has been used by God to open eyes.  I know there is more awareness, concern and support for the least of these because little Taz (and soon MB) has joined our community.  God is doing a mighty work at opening prosperous eyes to injustices half a world away, and what a gift to be a teeny tiny part of that.

My Matt Damon index is far higher than it ever should be, than I would ever like it to be (though still much lower than Claudia's, I'm sure).  What would God have me do with it?  What is your Matt Damon index and what are you doing with it?


  1. thrown out a 15-story window, splattered on the sidewalk below and then ran over by a garbage truck. 
    YES! That is such a perfect description.  It is so dang hard, isn't? I find it very, very VERY hard to balance up how to deal with craziness in a way that demonstrates grace. I'm in the middle of trying to write about it and my thoughts are even more muddled up than I thought they were :) I think the distinction that you can LOVE stupid is a really good one. I'm going to remember that! 

  2. I really loved your post. You can't fix stupid, but you can love it and forgive it. And it's ok to admit that it's stupid. Thanks for sharing, I look forward to reading all the other posts.

  3. ooh, I like that = what is GOD going to do with my matt damon index? LOVE! Thanks for a thoughtful post (over from Claudia) and a reminder to love stupid and act with grace.