As I write this I have that feeling I get where my cheeks ache because I'm trying so hard to hold back tears.
The Auburn football team, and consequently my family, is going to the National Championship in Pasadena. It's confirmed. Official. We have flights, hotels, and now game tickets. And while I am OVER THE MOON about Auburn's miraculous season, the cause for my restrained tears is much bigger than football.
Only three full days have passed between the time Auburn found out they were going to the big game and today--the day I found out my family is for sure going. During that time, my mom and dad have lost sleep and a good bit of money trying to secure the arrangements for our trip. I have done NOTHING to contribute to this effort. I have racked my brain for contacts, connections, and inside tracks to championship tickets. And yet nothing came to mind. And before I could start sending desperate emails to anyone I've ever known who has anything to do with the Los Angeles area, the NCAA, or Vizio (which is all of 2 people), it was done. They had everything under control. We're going!
And it's killing me. Because I didn't help. This is what I do. I connect people. I reach out to people. I network. I'm not ashamed to ask for favors because I enjoy doing them in return. I am good at buying event tickets. I'm savvy with social media. I should have been able to help in SOME way! I'm almost 30 years old. I'm an adult with a good job. Surely I could have found something, bought something, ANYTHING. But no. I am simply left receiving.
And then the tears come, because I know this is so much bigger than this game. This is grace. Right? Being given something I do not deserve and have not earned. And I have been receiving this kind of grace from my parents my entire life. Not cheap grace. Not "giving into every desire and honoring my tantrums" kind of grace. But the kind of grace that says "I love you. You are my child. I want to give you good gifts. I can give you things you cannot give yourself." As a child this was easy to receive. As an adult, it's been more difficult.
The segue way here is fairly obvious. This is what Jesus offers me too. So often I want to do something or prove to him that I can help and pull my own weight in our "partnership." But then he brings me back to the manger. And then the cross. And then the empty tomb. And I am reminded that this is NOT a partnership. This is Him giving everything and me giving nothing. Him emptying Himself fully and me receiving. This is grace.