I was in good spirits. I had just worked out and was pleased that my strength exercises had been healing to my back. I turned to head to my parents’ house to pick up the kids, and BAM. I had hit the curb. Immediately my tire pressure warning light came on and I knew exactly what I had done.
How did I know? Because this is the third time I’ve hit a curb and ruined a tire, the second time in the past 2 years.
Angry at myself, I pulled into the nearest parking lot, which happened to be First Baptist Church. My husband wasn’t available so I called my dad, who lives minutes away.
My mind was spinning and I had to do something productive while I waited. I decided I’d try to do as much as I could to change the tire before Dad arrived. You’d think having worked at a dealership for a decade I’d know how to change a tire. At least I knew where the owner’s manual was and how to find instructions. (And I suppose with my track record it’s a miracle I never damaged any of the dealership’s cars.)
I felt a bit of accomplishment when I was able to lower the spare tire down. About that time, Dad drove up. I straightened up as sweat dripped down my legs. I felt a pang of guilt when I saw Dad. One, for him having to help me in a heat index of near 110. Two, because this was the second time. The last time he drove 45 minutes to do this for me.
Dad took one look at me and didn’t say a word.
He hugged me.
He hugged me.
He didn’t ask how I did it this time. He didn’t make some joke about third time’s a charm. He didn’t even make reference to everything he taught me in Driver’s Ed.
He simply hugged me. And got to work changing my tire in the oppressive heat.
After we changed the tire and I drove to pick up the kids, I couldn’t stop thinking about Dad’s reaction. My own feelings of guilt and regret had assaulted me. I mean, who has ever hit 3 curbs and ruined 3 tires in their life? Why can’t I learn? What is wrong with me?
But Dad offered me grace, love, and an assurance that it was all going to be okay.
I dreaded telling my husband. Dad may have helped in the sweltering heat – twice – but Matt was the one who was going to have to take care of the tire. (Thankfully he learned long ago to always buy road hazard for my tires.) But you know what he did? He hugged me, too.
Today I experienced more than another roadside catastrophe. I experienced what it’s like to be on the receiving end of grace. And you know what it makes me want to do?
No wonder why grace is such a prevailing theme in the New Testament. Grace is the way to the heart. I hope the next time my daughter spills something or I am wronged or put out – anytime I’m tempted to lash out in judgment or emotion – I’ll remember Dad’s hug.