She arrives at my door this morning, looking much like Mary Poppins, only somewhat older and wearing a navy pant suit with floral shirt. She has a small kerchief tied stylishly at her neck and holds a stylish carpet bag in hand. “Hello my dear. My name is Ms. Grace. I heard you called?” She asks as she peers into my home, with my children in the background using anything but their inside voices, dirty pans and dishes galore.
“I’m sorry… I didn’t call for any… home services? Is that what you do?” I ask as I again look over her put together outfit opposed to my slippers and pj’s.
“Oh, I know you did not call… but an order most definitely was placed.” She looks expectedly at the house, the chores awaiting.
I’m no fool. If she wants to help, I’ll take it gladly. I open the door, “Please do come in.”
The kids give her a glance and continue on in their game of indoor ball.
“I guess you can start wherever—“ I said motioning to the main room full of clean laundry yet to be folded, pots and pans on the stove, and a sink full of dishes needing to be washed. Her eyes sweep over the computers and homeschool work scattered across the table, then to my children. There is no look of disapproval is in her eyes. Instead, just a large measure of kindness. Then her eyes swing over to me, and it’s almost as if I am transparent as can be. She smiles. “Let’s take care of you. It all starts with you.”
“That sounds fine to me,” I shrug and smile.
She places her carpet bag on the table and reaches into it, one arm nearly engulfed in the large throes of such a bag. I hope she has an abundance of cleaning supply and perhaps even some toilet paper in that pack. Instead, she lifts from the bag her Bible, weathered and worn.
“Sit,” she says as she opens the door to the backyard for the children to escape to play.
Somehow I listen to this absolute stranger. I sit down with no resolve.
Quick as I do, a cup of fresh tea appears at my elbow, and Ms. Grace settles in. She reads to me slowly, methodically from the 91st Psalm. The words seep over my soul just like water sweeps over a long neglected houseplant. I soak it all in and feel better by the minute.
“With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation,” She says the last words and closes her Bible. “And now, let us pray.”
Sure enough her warm hand clasps mine as she prays words from the deep well of love for the Lord inside of her. As she gives my hand a squeeze, she says, “Now we are ready to go.”
Again to the carpet bag she goes… this time pulling out an old-fangled cd player. She smiles shyly. “Not quite up with the times. Plug this in dear, and soon things will be fine.”
I plug in the CD player, and press play. Sweet praise and worship flows from the stereo warming house, home, and deep inside of me.
Ms. Grace hands me a sponge. “You wash I’ll dry.”
I stick my hands into the soapy swirls and find joy… even in doing the dishes. We sing and laugh, and the presence of Jesus grows stronger each moment in the house.
After several rounds of “Raise a Hallelujah” and a few more of “Yes I will”, the dishes are done. Ms. Grace hands me a fresh dish towel and we wipe down the counters, stack up the homework and more.
No, it is not perfect, nor will it ever be… but a bit more organized and less overwhelming.
Now, Ms. Grace goes to the door, allowing the children in one by one. I’m thinking perhaps she is like THE NANNY and will direct them one by one on keeping up the cleanliness of the house or not tracking in the mud. I watch expectantly as she introduces herself, and presses a hand to each child’s head as they pass through. “A blessing to you, and to you, and to you.”
The children stop and glance up at her eyes. Just like my experience before, her eyes hold no disapproval or impatience. Instead, her eyes hold a great measure of grace. It feeds into the kids souls, just as it did mine, and soon we stand there stronger than before. Yes, the attitude of the whole house has changed!
The day continues, with homeschool instruction. Each time, Ms. Grace lets me take the lead. She is at my elbow, always providing just what I need. A towel for the spilled milk and a gracious smile for the child who sits there looking on gultily. A squeeze on my shoulder after a children’s bout of frustration at their homework, leading me to give a kind hug instead of an impatient sigh. Even when the computer acts up and I can’t access the online classes, she is there with a smile. “Perhaps let’s count to ten?” She prompts. On and on we go all afternoon, and soon the knots in my neck ease and we settle into a… rhythm of sorts. A rhythm of grace.
I glance at the clock, it’s coming on five. Although I still wish she could take the lead (perhaps she will cook?), she has proved herself to be just what I need.
At the end of the day, after supper is done (which by the way, I cooked with her by my side) she grabs her umbrella and bag.
“How can I ever thank you?” I say, my eyes sparkling with thanks.
She smiles her gracious smile and proceeds to the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
My mouth stands a gape… tomorrow, again? What lottery did I win? To have her here, her help, her whispers…. It caused such a change within.
“I’ll leave you with one last thing,” she says, her hand grasping mine.
I nod in wide-eyed wonder. “Yes?”
Instead of speaking, she hands me a slip of paper bent in two. “Read it tonight with the children, will you?”
I smile and nod, curious for what’s to be read. I glimpse down at the paper and nod my head.
“Oh I will, yes I will,” I say looking back up. But to my surprise the space before me stands empty. “Ms. Grace? Ms. Grace?”
Then above me a shooting star lifts into space.
I walk back inside still in awe at what I saw.
The children draw near. “What is that, Ma?”
I look to the note then to each curious face.
“Let’s read what it says, It’s from Ms. Grace.”
So huddled together we read,
“2 Corinthians 12:9, ‘My grace is sufficient for you—”
“My strength is made perfect in weakness’,” it said.
A smile lit upon each face,
For yes, even tomorrow,
we would have His Grace.
And the peace that settled in our heart and head,
Carried us all peacefully up to bed.
*Thank you for reading my little slice of writing. I’ve never really written poems, so it amazed me that some of the story came out through rhyming. I hope this leaves you encouraged to open your door, for Grace comes knocking at your door each morning too.
I’ll look forward to our next time together.