A Gift of Grace
by Marlene J. Chase
Molly was a kind soul but a bit of an odd duck. Fifty-something and mentally challenged, she lived in a local nursing home. The Army was the only family she knew. I often picked her up on Sundays and for the weekly prayer meeting.
She never let me forget but telephoned the day before a planned activity to remind me to stop for her. Sometimes she called more than once! And how she loved to talk. She wanted to tell me all about her day, what she had for breakfast, what activity was planned at the home. As with small children, though, she could be “tuned out” by busy, sometimes insensitive adults.
Molly was square-shaped and plain. She loved pretty dresses and wore her few brightly-colored cotton ones proudly–often with mismatching belts or accessories. Her hair hung to her shoulders gray, straight and always with a bright ribbon tied in an ungainly bow on top. Thick glasses threatened to fall off her short nose when she walked–carefully in red and blue tennis shoes with yellow happy faces on each toe.
One memory of Molly stands out from all the others. It had been one of those weeks when everything that could go wrong did. The demands of corps and family had pressed in on me like twin vises clamped on a delicate base. I didn’t want to hear about Molly’s week. I needed strength, endurance, a little peace. I needed grace, not Molly.
Though shuffled from one institution to another with few of life’s comforts, Molly was always happy. That Sunday Molly was her usual cheerful self, chatting away a mile a minute. I couldn’t find it in me to respond to her, so eventually we sat silent for the trip. It was warm, humid, ordinary, and I felt worn down to the bone.
When we arrived, Molly climbed out in her usual awkward fashion, eager to go to church. But suddenly she stopped.
“Oh, she exclaimed, putting one hand to her mouth and brightening like a lit flame. “Look what God gave us on the ground!”
We had found it necessary to end the expensive contract with the lawn service, and the latest crop of dandelions were blooming like radiant suns in the green lawn. How quickly the nasty weeds had sprung up. But to Molly, her face vivid with delight, they were not weeds but exotic blossoms direct from God.
I looked at again at the objects of her joy. They were beautiful! How is it I had never noticed?
Suddenly my weariness and worry vanished in a gold-emerald sea. It took Molly to show me what was important, to remind me that God was still there giving His good gifts to enjoy. It took Molly to remind me of His grace.
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