She told me not to touch the Jell-O as it settled in the fridge. It needed time. But I was only a little bigger than 7 and I just wanted a peek. The cherry red shined under the light. Was it wet? Was it gel? One finger in, that’s all it took. One finger to discover if the magic had happened yet.
It hadn’t. I found that out quick as I lost my balance, finger deep in red goo. It came tumbling off the glass shelf, onto the jam and the pickle lids, the linoleum and the pink jelly shoes. But that’s not the worst part.
The worst part is she was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, watching. And I didn’t know it.
There I was, unable to hide the sticky guilt of my disobedience. She could have yelled. She could have lectured. She could have scolded with a pointy finger and a go-t0-your-room. But that isn’t what she did.
Instead, she wore calm like a cloak as she moved towards me, a soft look on her face, love in her green eyes –mercy standing over me. And then, she began to help me clean it up – grace on hands and knees.
The yelling would have been easier to take. But I would have forgotten it.
I got my first glimpse of the power of grace that day in my mother’s kitchen. She didn’t change the whole world, but something shifted inside mine.
It was subtle, but it was powerful, too.
She will be the first to tell you that grace wasn’t always her response. Grace isn’t always my response, either. But for today, I love the reminder that grace leaves a deep impact on a child’s heart. The influence of a mother is a powerful force, one that deserves a celebration.
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