Sitting on the curb listening to the deep rumble of rigs on the freeway. Tears falling on asphalt as I lean over my knees, holding them close, rocking away the feelings of failure and guilt. My dad’s new car now mangled by my one careless moment of inattention, was now towed away, but I was left to wait in the parking lot of a nearby restaurant. The sun was shining, birds cooing, people smiling as they stepped by me on break for lunch, but I only saw the shadow of black between my feet, head bowed with shame, for the scenario seemed altogether too familiar. A brief distraction teamed with too much speed, and the third of my father’s cars… totalled.
I remembered the words of my driver’s ed teacher… “You have to pass this test to get your license, but the real test begins after you pass.” I had failed the real test.
Perhaps my last failure could be blamed on the black ice, but this one… this momentary neglect while merging onto the freeway made me shake my head at the silly girl who just two years before rushed into the room proudly waving that slip of paper exclaiming “100%!” with head held high. Such a different posture from this girl waiting quietly for dad to arrive.
Empty of thought, struggling for ease of breathe, numb, until I saw a familiar set of shoes beside me and an arm of love wrapped gently around my shoulder. “Dad, I’m so sorry about your car!” Perhaps 2 could be forgiven, but 3? That was surely asking too much. 3 strikes and you’re out, right?
That was when I first noticed the cement being prepared for pouring into a new life. The churning of thoughts, and glimpses of understanding… Cement for a new foundation. That was when God first whispered the word grace into my life.