It's funny, really.
I got this really great key with the word "grace" on it from one of my teachers and I didn't really feel worthy of it. I was flattered, of course, and felt a sense of professional pride. As a principal of a middle school, I take the safety of my students (both physically and emotionally) very seriously and very personally.
When a large number of my students were involved in a bus accident recently, it was hard. It was hard because I cared and, unfortunately, it was hard because parents took out a lot of their anxious energy on me. It must have been my fault, right? Actually, I already felt like it was my fault. How could I let those beautiful students - somebody's whole entire world - get hurt? I was surprised, however, to be attacked.
There on my desk one afternoon was a very nice note from a wonderful and talented young teacher, along with a box and this key with the word "grace." She is the teacher you wish you had. She's cool, she's funky, and she's not going to let you do anything but your best. I felt the farthest from graceful I had ever felt, so I was surprised that she would see this in me. She said that I always take care of everyone and that I handle everything with such grace. Really? Me?! It was exactly what I needed to hear and from a person from whom it meant more than I am able to express in words here.
Fast forward to today. I have been struggling with what to do next. It meant so much to me that I must keep the good feeling going. And then it happened.
Today, one of my very best friends called to tell me that her mother has been diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. My father died of Lung Cancer. I know that heavy feeling in her heart and I would do anything to fix it. This is the friend who brought me meals even when I thought I couldn't eat, who reminds me all the time that my daughter - the one my dad never met - is exactly like my dad. She does have his wit, and I miss that most of all. But, you know what's crazy? This friend has a daughter named Grace. I always thought it was the perfect name because she was born after years of heart-breaking fertility problems. Her birth was literally grace to the many folks who didn't understand why this wonderful woman (and her compassionate, caring husband) wasn't able to have a child. As I was explaining to my friend that she has no idea how much comfort she will be to her mother, that she has no idea how strong her mother really is, it hit me. Her mother needs that necklace. Not only will it be a reminder of her beautiful granddaughter, but it is a reminder that she has graced us with our presence, with her lovely family and with her spirit.
I hope that God will grace her with strength and healing and, if it is time, a peaceful and content end to her life that those who love her can someday come to accept and understand.
It is with sadness that I pass this on to a sick woman, but she needs it and I believe the reason I was given this key was so that it would make it's way to her.