November 17, 2017

Grace and the Things That Happen

5:00pm seems so late in the couple weeks after Daylight Saving Time. It's around that time my daughter and I were heading home after an after-school volunteer meeting.

I understood Daylight Saving Time, but I knew our dog didn't. His life runs by the clock: walk at 5:43am; nap until we get home at 4:00pm; walk and then poop at 4:30pm. In that order. We were an hour late. I knew it, I knew he knew it and I hoped he could wait.

It was in that spirit that we burst into the house, screaming Okay Charley, let's go for walk! But Charley was nowhere to be found. I breathed a sigh of relief thinking my husband had beaten us home to help Charley stay on task with his personal schedule.

But something was out of place.

Our makeshift doggie gate that bars Charley's entrance to the rest of the house was still up.The basement door was slightly ajar; and its cold green hallway light cast an eerie sliver of light through the kitchen. 

The leash was still in its place from that morning. But Charley needs a leash to walk.

My brain scrambled to add up the missing pieces as my daughter headed downstairs, thinking my husband and the dog were downstairs together...Dad! DAAAAD! I went to our bedroom to look out the window, expecting to see the dog and my husband.

Why is the bedroom light on? Dad!! DAAAAD! My daughter's voice seemed to fade and narrow in my ears as I looked at the dresser: All the drawers were open, and the top of the dresser looked like...oh dear lord.

We had been broken into. Robbed.

That happened about this time last year; and I said nothing on social media about it because I didn't want sympathy.
* * * * * * * *

As more sexual abuse allegations toward the powerful roll in, I reflect on this time last year knowing that my silence wasn't so much about not wanting sympathy as it was about me buying into Anti-grace.

Whereas grace says everything we have is a gift -- whether it's getting that dream job, or car, or stable housing or food or good friends or good health or "good" kids. Grace says its all a gift. Unearned and unmerited. A gift.

On the other hand, Anti-grace says we earn everything. Everything. Cancer in remission? We Livestrong and beat it because we're fighters.

Poverty? We choose to not work hard, or we excel in laziness, or we majored in lack of motivation, or we like our bootstraps just loose enough to not pull ourselves up. We earn that poverty.

Divorce or Breakup? We choose the wrong guy/girl, or we work on not being the marrying type, or we lean into pushing him/her away. We bootstrap our way to singlehood.

Robbery? We choose to live in the wrong neighborhood because everyone knows this stuff never happens in the suburbs. We definitely deserved it.

Some guy said something to us, stalked us, or we had to fight him off? We wore something, said something, or flipped our hair flirtatiously to earn it.

Anti-grace is a megaphone of our good fortune and a silencer of our ills.

* * * * * * * *

All the fingerprinting dust left by the detectives is long gone. We've replaced the compromised door jambs and mourned appropriately over stolen sentimental treasures now living in a pawnshop or in a back alley.

It is only by grace that we recovered our sense of safety. It is only by grace that I can even talk about the robbery now, because like the people who are coming forward with sexual abuse allegations, I know what happened to us -- and what happened to them -- is nothing we earned.

It just happened.