Create + Write + Inspire
{In}between Grace: SHE Series Part 2
by Jennifer Kelly on May 30th, 2015

She walked in about ten minutes late.
Or maybe it was closer to twenty.

She was hoping to squeeze in undetected.
"Who keeps track anyway?" she thought to herself as the door screeched open.

She was late enough to receive a group of disappointed glances and irritated exhales. It felt as if 30 replicas of her mother had been sitting there and waiting for her to arrive. The only difference was the age and color of hair.

Why was it that she could never make it to class on time? And what is it about the look of disappointment that hits you right in the gut and takes your breath away?

In that moment, she felt the same annoyance and disappointment she had felt her whole-entire-life.

"Great" she muffled under her breath while nervously shuffling across the back of the room to find a seat. She always seemed to be running late these days.

Late to work.
Late to school.
Late to life.


During the next awkward couple of minutes she was THAT person to extract books and papers and pens and stuff out of her bag. While the students and professor tried to ignore the disruption in the back of the class, she finally sat down.

And then her phone started to ring.
"OH-NO. No-no-no-no-no-no-no".

She reached down inside her old, very unorganized, black purse to try and locate her cell phone. To try and make it stop. "Please God, make it stop". But it was to late. All eyes on her once again. She had forgotten to silence her phone. She had been in such a rush to try and get to class on time. All of sudden, she heard another classmate's snarky reply of, "Really?" His snide remark was laced with pomp, arrogance and judgment. She thought it was crazy how one, single, solitary comment made her want to scream, hit him in the face, and vomit all at the same time. A couple muffled laughs ensued and she felt very lonely.

More alone than she could ever remember feeling in a very long time.

The rest of the class went by entirely too fast and she couldn't help but feel in-over-her-head.
And she was. It was hard enough to get herself on time to class (which obviously wasn't happening) and passing the class was a whole other thing. Just another form of failing.

She thought to herself, "What is the point?" and didn't have an answer. Nothing came to mind in fact. Things used to be so simple before. A time before this. A time long before she could remember anything (good) or (fun) or (peaceful) anyway.

Class ended and she was the last one to walk slowly out to her old, beat-up car. She stumbled to find her keys. Or maybe she was delaying the inevitable. She would make the long trip to her mom's house to pick up her son. The same disappointed glances and irritated exhales that greeted her in class would be the same kind to welcome her in a few short minutes.

Only, the ones from her mother felt worse. 
 
She wished her mom would cut her some slack. Give her some grace now and then. She still went to church with her, still did dinners and forced conversations every Tuesday and Thursdays after work at 3pm.

It wasn't her fault her ex left her for another woman.
It wasn't her fault that she didn't have a plan B.
It wasn't her fault that she had to support her son and make something of herself now.
She just wished her mom knew that it wasn't her fault.

But she felt it every single time her mother glanced at her with disappointment. Or was it worry? She couldn't tell the difference anymore.

She made it to the familiar house that she grew up in. She did her best to say "thanks" and hold a smile. One of those force, tired, fake smiles that don't fool anyone. Finally, she walked hand-in-hand with her son out the door and buckled him into the old, beat up car. The quiet, short ride home from her mom's house, only to turn around and find her sweet boy puckered out. Out-like-a-light.

She desperately missed him. She smelled his hair and clothes as she laid him down to bed. All blue and cars and crazed hair. He was her world. Her life. Her only inspiration. One day he would understand.

She went to bed at the same time every night, and lately, her prayers had been getting shorter. Nothing was changing except for her patience. Everything seemed to be diminishing by the minute. She was walking a very fine line. The finish line seemed so far. Peace seemed so impossible. Hope seemed like a flickering fire - almost quenched. 

On these hard days she peeled her Bible from the shelf and opened it up to her favorite spot.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28

She closed her tired, teary eyes and said, "I am so tired Lord. So tired and weary and exhausted from it all. Please help me. Stay with me. Give me hope and comfort and something. Anything. Not just for me, but for my boy - God. If not for me, please, I ask you, for him".

She closed her Bible and climbed into bed. Alone and tired, she buried herself under the covers. Out-like-a-light.

She woke up early the next morning to find her son snuggled next to her in bed.
Cuddled up so close and little. Sleeping so peacefully. So perfectly.

She laid there and stared at him for a while, desperately wanting time to stop. He rolled over and lifted those big, brown eyes right up at her. He looked at his mom with the same wonder and awe and admiration that she knew so well. She didn't realize how much love and joy and innocence could be wrapped up in a four year old. All he needed was her. His face was ingrained in her memory. Every freckle, every spot, and every piece of hair. 

"I love you mom"

She breathed in that moment like pure gold. Time did stop. And with no hesitation. With absolutely every fiber in her, she replied:

"I love you too little man"

And she knew in that second, why she would continue. The answer she desperately was searching for was there the whole time. This little gift was the sweetest reminder. A breath of fresh air. It had been there the whole time, she just needed a new day, with rest, and mercy.

And in that moment, she knew that God was with them. She whispered a quick "Thank you God" from deep down within in heart. And squeezed her little man harder than she did the day before.

*image by Fotolia: www.fotolia.com


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