Grace. Not just a gift we receive—grace is also a state of living. Last week on Thursday, I checked out of my hotel room at 5:45am, ate a hurried breakfast in the lobby, drove from the hotel to the DCS HQ office building arriving at 6:15am. I spent a couple hours in meeting prep, spent seven hours in a meeting (good meeting—but long). Then, at 3:30pm it was time to head home. I spent 90 minutes in traffic to the airport, 30 minutes returning a rental car and catching the shuttle to the terminal, and almost an hour in security in order to board a 6:30 flight home. I boarded the completely full, twin prop, tiny plane, with seats that seem even smaller than when I flew over two days prior, and finally after a one-hour flight, five-minute taxi to the gate, a walk down to baggage claim, claiming my bag from the moving carousel and heading to my car parked at the Spokane Airport—my day seemed way too long already! Getting close to home, I was driving down I-90 getting ready to take the exit ramp for Pines, when a large pick-up truck pulled behind me. The truck had their high-beams on. They were moving closer because we were slowing down. Their high-beams are on, they’re shining in my face, it is annoying—especially for someone who actually uses their mirrors. I am driving the Ford Escape, it’s a 2001, of course the rear-view mirror doesn’t auto-adjust. So I flip the little switch thing on the bottom and it helps—but now all I can see are four somewhat dimmer headlights and everything else is just dark. It also doesn’t alleviate any of the light from the side mirrors—each one shooting a blinding ray of light in my face from a different angle. And this thing is a huge pick-up truck, there are lots of lights, four headlamps—all on, bright and shiny! Two fog lamps, showing a casual blue hue and marker lights growing orange—a lot of light. I feel like I am riding in front of the sun.
Anyway, we pull off the exit for Pines and I’m going straight, heading south on Pines, and he’s going east on Mission. As we turn off the exit ramp on Pines, I have a green light and I’m able to go straight through the intersection, but he has a red light, and will have to wait for it to turn green. Finally, vindication! My very first thought is, “it serves him right, what comes around goes around, maybe he shouldn’t annoy other people so!” But as I cross over Mission, pulling further away from this truck I was taken aback at my attitude. After all, maybe he doesn’t have his high-beams on, maybe it’s just a big tall pick-up and his low-beams just look like high-beams to me. Maybe the headlamps are new, and he doesn’t realize they need to be adjusted down. Maybe the problem wasn’t his, maybe I am just sensitive—after all I am tired. Most likely, he isn’t trying to be mean he just had them on and then forgot they were on.
My first reaction is harsh, critical and very un-grace-like. Grace is not just something we are given—it is something we are expected to give in return. I have clearly got a lot to work on. After all, my sin against God is a lot more like ten thousand talents (a huge sum) and his high-beam thing is just barely 100 denarii (a tiny, tiny amount). See Matthew 18:21-35.