We have a nightly dinner ritual that makes me feel insecure on most days. No one is aware of it, except for me. Because admitting it, that would be embarrassing.
My husband was born with an uncanny ability to remember facts. A plethora of facts on just about any subject. After twenty-two years, I am still in awe of this, acutely aware of the fact that it is a gift, and even more grateful for the money he saves us because of all the things he knows how to do.
Most evenings, while I scoop food on plates, our kids engage him in conversation. Last night my daughter asked him to do a WWII alphabet list. I have to admit that if she would have asked me, I am not even sure I would have made it to letter D.
I’m sure my silence clues my kids in to the reality that their mom doesn’t remember most of what she learned in school after fourth grade. Because when you are in charge of your own life, play the role of parent before you know how to drive a car, food and security take priority over the leadership of Hitler and mathematical equations.
What I remember most about school is how safe I felt in the classroom. That the stiffness of worry I held at home, fell off during those hours seated at a desk among my friends. Truthfully, I didn’t care as much about what the textbook said, as for the assurance of a safe place, just in case I found myself alone or in danger. The fact that I made good grades, that is a grace gift.
And after school, it wasn’t milk and cookies, and doing homework around the kitchen table with some help. I walked home to an empty house, or worse, my mother met me inebriated on the front lawn, to greet my friends.
I can’t remember how to do geometry and I don’t quote facts about history. I would be one of those people we laugh about on Jay Leno, if he met me on the street and asked a random question.
But I can tell you how to hear God in your room at midnight when your house is full of strangers and smells of marijuana and beer. How to hear him when you need to choose which school to attend, whether you should marry the man who asked you, or when you have a decision to move across the country to live in a place you have never seen before – three times.
I can help you to identify that still small voice of the one who created you, knew how your life would turn out even through the hardship. The voice of the one that wants to tell you how much He loves you now.
I can assure you that you most certainly are not your circumstances; that the power of God who raised Christ from the dead lives in you if you asked Him to. And that nothing you face today is too difficult for Him.
And when I listen to the conversations about wars, cars and debates over historical facts, I sit with embarrassment about my lack of contribution . . . with gratitude. Because those three people seated around my kitchen table, they are teaching this mom and wife all the things I missed.
They are the beauty of my redemption.
There is no end of the road, closed door, or circumstance too difficult for redemption to do its work. That fact, I know it well.