Grace Unrecognized

My previous post concerning my childhood has had my mind there so much these days. Thinking about my beginnings. Thinking about my home and the way that God was there.

I’ve thought about my best friend who lived next door. Her name was Janet and she had an older sister named Kathy and a younger brother, Ricky. She had brown hair and freckles and she was a little older than me. They had a trampoline in their yard and it backed up to my side yard and so we’d jump for hours. We’d lie under the dusk sky before bedtime and talk about everything.

Her mama could make the BEST fried potatoes. I would BEG to eat dinner there when I smelled them cooking in that small kitchen.

I remember her daddy worked on cars and it seemed that they always had a junky yard with a dog on a chain and a dirt track where he’d worn the earth bare. Her daddy was different than mine, but I could never put my finger on why he seemed that way. Aren’t all daddy’s the same? I thought they should be at least. Not Janet’s daddy.

We lived in a neighborhood that was one road in and one road out. It was one big circle. There was a creek that ran through the lower half of the circle and right through the other side of my yard. If it rained really hard our yard, and sometimes house, would flood and so mama and daddy decided to move us to the top of the neighborhood. That was the first time that I moved away from Janet.

I would still ride my bike down the big hill and we’d meet and play in the creek. We’d dam it up and catch craw dads. I remember Janet asking me why I went to church and could never play on Sunday mornings. I remember mama calling me home when things seemed tense at Janet’s house. My mama somehow knew, but I didn’t understand.

When I was in the 4th grade my daddy was transferred to a small town in South Carolina and we’d leave the only town I really ever knew. My brother had been born in our small town and I’d lived there my whole life.  I cried for days.

Just before we left Janet’s sister started dating a guy. One Sunday my entire family was standing outside just after church and heard 2 cars speeding up the street. One was coming one way in the circle, the other coming the other way and they inevitably met. Janet’s daddy stopped the car and blocked the boy who was running from him. Janet’s daddy pulled out a gun and aimed it right at him. My daddy yelled for my mama to get us in the house and my daddy went to the end of the drive way. He tried to talk some sense into Janet’s daddy and thankfully it ended peacefully.

I would later learn that Janet’s home life was not what I thought it was. My mama and daddy would often make me SO mad because they would not allow me to play there once we moved to the top of the hill. I could NOT understand their strict rules and wanted to just run to her house… jump on the trampoline and eat fried potatoes.

Once we moved I never heard from Janet again. I do not know what became of her or her life.She would say that we were so “proper” and that we seemed to do what was right. I just thought we were a family… like hers. I remember telling her that our family was NOT perfect and that my dad and mom made lots of mistakes, but I always knew that I was loved. She seemed to envy that.

I sometimes wonder why the Lord puts us in places for just a short time. Why He picks us up and places us somewhere else. I sometimes think about why I have the parents that I have and why THEY chose God and other parents didn’t. It’s not always easy to recognize His grace when you are standing in it. When you didn’t even choose it for yourself, but somehow it was chosen for you.

Better yet, what about the grace that is extended to all of us? Janet’s family lived in the same town that I did. It was a good place with good people and many people who loved God. Why didn’t her family reach out and grab it? Did they even know it was there? Did we show it to her and I was just too young to realize it? OH GOD! Let it be so! Please, Lord, let it be!


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