There are days as a parent that are harmonious. We all have great attitudes, we create memories, we laugh, we eat good, and we love fully. Then there are days of gnashing teeth, whining, slamming doors, dramatic crying, and the dreaded "I hate you!"
Mysterious grace - when everything goes wrong and some how it all works together for good. Have you ever noticed how we celebrate the hard days? Even in the simple memories that sound like this, "Remember the good old days when we used to drive 13 hours to South Carolina in the middle of summer with no AC. That was great." Mysterious grace is remembering the the horror but laughing while telling the story. It is agonizing over the emotional fights but welling up with tears when thinking about the beauty brought by the pain. It is being confounded by the complexity of life but taking deep breaths of reflection, relief, and the subtle grin.
I trust the reliable moments of mysterious grace that we can’t manufacture, but can trust they will be there when we need them, especially in times of darkness. For me its when the day gets interrupted with a massive tickle fight. The kids are begging to be tickled to the point of suffocation because they are laughing so hard. Laughter is a fierce contagion for joy.
Let's not forget the squeezes (hugs). The physical gesture of forgiveness and compassion. With a squeeze silence is welcomed and to say anything in that moment would diminish it.
Finally, the sacred moment when you check on the kids one last time before going to bed and see them all sleeping. The day could have been an epic hell, but in that moment there is a peace that resonates and gives you just enough hope to forgive, breathe, and sleep.
These moments of mysterious grace are so transcendent that holiness is the only word that seems to fit. A moment where the physical space has been hijacked by another dimension. So often holiness is tied to religion where it happens at a particular place, at a particular hour, with the right people saying the right things. It can feel cheap because we are working too hard to manufacture it, replicate it, and sell it.
Holiness emerges in the present, the chaos, the adversity, the struggle, the fight, the darkness, the doubt, the meandering.
This holiness is mysterious grace because when we are thrown into the darkness and come out we are more whole, more human, and get a glimpse of what life is and why we are here.
Journeying to be fully human is choosing to enter the darkness rather than getting thrown into it and seeing that everything belongs and nothing is ordinary.