Friday, June 25, 2010

Grace Under Pressure.

A man has no more character than he can command in a time of crisis - Ralph W. Sockman

This week I had several unique opportunities to show my true character. When caught off guard or in a crisis, we reveal our true selves. Any one of us can dress up and play a part. We can put on a brave or happy face and say all the right, previously prepared words. It is when we extend grace or show character at a time we've been without opportunity to prepare for, that is special.

I am the queen of lending things out. I'm a bit of a collector of 'things' and nothing brings me greater joy than to share something I love with someone else. A little while back I offered a friend one of my designer handbags to take on a trip with her. It went with some of the outfits she had planned and it's always fun to have something 'new' on a trip, right? I was only too happy to lend it to her.

Bless her sweet heart, by an unavoidable accident my handbag was destroyed on the trip and she had to come back (after much preparation) and tell me that it was ruined. I could tell before she even got the words out how sorry she felt and to be 100% honest, I felt way worse for her than I did about the silly purse.

I was able to share with her something my Dad told me after I was in a car accident a few years back. I remember calling him, terrified he'd be angry about my car (even though the accident wasn't my fault). When your 16, $20 feels like a ton of money. I already knew that getting a car fixed was expensive and I was so grateful just to have one. To give you an idea, this 'super expensive' car of mine was a Toyota Camry with 150K miles on it. Not like I wrecked a new benz, but to me it was the freedom I'd waited 16 years for and I loved it every bit as much as a new benz.

I had no idea what he would say when he found out mine was banged up. He said something that has stuck with me for 8 years now. He said, ' Bekes (that's what my Dad calls me) cars can be fixed or replace, it's you that matters''. That my friends, is grace under pressure. That in a time when my Dad had the opportunity to build me up or tear me down, he was able to see through to the big picture. That a car accident makes for a crummy day but in the end, that's just it. One bad day and a few hundred bucks. The way he handled that situation changed the way I looked at 'stuff' from that day forward.

So here I am 8 years later, down one designer purse and faced with a tearful, (and fearful) friend. Do you know what came out of my mouth before I even realized it? "It's just a purse and purses can be replaced'. And you know what, I was right! Stuff comes and goes and sometimes it's sad when your favorite pair of jeans finally bite the dust or you leave an open pen in your handbag, or you snag a heel off a great pair of shoes on a cracked sidewalk. It's important to realize that those things can always be replaced - it's the people in your life that truly matter.

I said that I had several of these opportunities lately. Two more situations that were quite intense (though less of a ball-in-my-court kind of deal). As you get older it must be true that you turn into your parents because as I can imagine both my parents doing in those situations I gave them scriptures I have hidden in my heart and I prayed with them, on the spot. My parents among so many wonderful traits are prayer warriors the likes of which I have rarely met. Anytime, big or small, I need help I call my parents and ask them to pray with me. Over the years I have watched as my parents have worn there knees out in prayer for my sisters and I. Of the great many things I owe my parents for, their prayers are indeed the top of the list.

I guess the point of this blog entry is that when we are faced with the unexpected our character finds it's way out. We have to be preparing ourselves before hand to deal with those situations with grace. I leave you with this...

'Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live' - Jackie Windspear


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