By Wanda Kidd
CBFNC Collegiate Engagement Coordinator
Justice is a very important component of the Judeo/Christian calling. The mandate of implementing justice for the poor, the powerless and the voiceless is a strong and consistent obligation for believers as we read and are challenged as Christ followers. It is a long game and one that needs a concerted and constant effort.
In thinking of our reawakening of the united effort to strive for justice, I also long for evidence of grace. That requires more than the obligatory prayer at a meal or just being “nice.” I am talking about the person who steps into our life and offers comfort and compassion when we have done nothing to deserve it.
For me, one such expression of grace happened during the worst summer of my life. My husband was battling the possibility of losing his leg from coronary disease and my sister was battling brain cancer. They were waging these battles four hours apart and I was trying to balance caregiving for both.
My husband was mending enough that I had made the trip to Chapel Hill to be with my sister. On my first day at the hospital with her, I left 10 minutes too late to retrieve my car from valet parking and had to take an uber home. Therefore, I was already anxious when the doctors were late for rounds. I did not want a repeat of the night before.
The faces of the team were very somber when they entered the room. I could recount the whole conversation word for word, but the last two exchanges were. “There is nothing else we can do.” To which I said, “I thought you said this was not hopeless.” And he replied, “I am not so inclined to believe that now.” The rest was a blur… find hospice care… the palliative care worker would be in tomorrow… we are so sorry. They ordered Amy a sedative and left.
After she was settled, I raced down to the front of the hospital to catch the last shuttle of the evening. I was numb, sad and raw and was not happy that the two shuttle drivers were chatting with each other and ignoring my need to get to my car. I was barely holding it together and desperately wanted to find sanctuary in the privacy of my Prius. One of the drivers looked at me and said in a perceived terse voice, “What do you need?”
“I need to get to my car before you all close down,” I said. She looked over her shoulder as I got in the van and said, “Well, you will just have to wait a minute.” I felt myself unraveling as I said, “I need you not to speak to me unkindly. I am having a very bad day.” The other driver slipped out of the passenger door and my driver started the van. It was not a long ride to the valet parking lot, but it seemed interminable. Tears began to track down my face and she looked over her shoulder again and asked, “ Are you OK?”
“No,” I said in a strangled voice. “I am not OK. My husband is four hours away and very sick and they just told me that my only sister is dying and I have to take her home and it is Labor Day weekend and I have no idea what to do.”
I reached for the sliding door handle and threw it open as we arrived at the virtually empty valet parking lot. I had my head down and stepped out as quickly as I could, but when my feet hit the ground and I started toward the car, I saw the driver standing less than two feet away with her arms wide open.
Somehow she had made it around the van and was just waiting. I looked at her for a moment and then fell into her arms. She held me close to her ample chest and prayed for me and with me, until I was able to stand on my own. Then she walked me to my car and helped me in.
When I think of unmerited favor, I think of that dark parking lot and a van driver who was at the end of her shift and did not need my attitude nor my pain, but she willingly absorbed them both. Thanks be to God for grace offered and received.
“God is full of grace. From him we have all received grace in place of the grace already given. In the past, God gave us grace through the law of Moses. Now, grace and truth come to us through Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17