- (gras) - love not deserved.
That's what the dictionary says. Love not deserved. Here's
Grace: defn. - (gras) - love not
deserved. Very strange thing. If bestowed on you, never to
be forgotten. Life altering. Normally considered abstract
principle, but is not. Attaches itself permanently to real
and powerful events in one's life. Always accompanied by a
I sit on my porch these days in the late afternoon, and
I think about things. Seems like we are in a difficult time.
So much discord. So much unhappiness. Jesus said we were
supposed to be good to each other. Has that been rescinded
and I didn't get the word? Turmoil in the world - yes. But
there is something else out there. I look out across the
pasture all the way to the tree line in the distance and I
know beyond what I can see, there is something else out
there, too. The thing called "grace" is out there. I know it
The year was 1974. About to graduate with my doctorate
in psych; pressure was intense. Just after finishing my
year-long internship/residency in a Dallas hospital, I
needed to complete my final semester courses, pass oral and
written comprehensives, finish the dissertation, and
complete one more task perhaps more important than
most...pass the state board exam for psychologists. The test
was given rather infrequently in those days, and one had to
make arrangements well in advance to be on the list of
test-takers. Mine was scheduled on a Saturday at 8:00 A. M.
if I remember correctly. No problem. I would leave the
university on Friday afternoon, get a room, and enter the
lion's den on Saturday morning to see if I could emerge
unscathed. (Think Daniel passes the exam.) I set sail for
Austin, Texas on that Friday afternoon almost 300 miles to
the south. Things went just swimmingly until I reached the
town of Waco some three hours later, and I noticed the
temperature gauge on my old truck had some bad news. Reading
very hot, my radiator decided to leave us approximately 100
miles short of that Austin destination. Hmmm.
On the outskirts of town, I saw a small mechanic shop
on the right.
The sign said "Closed." Not a surprise as the time was 5:30
on Friday afternoon. There was a small white house attached
to that little shop, and since I couldn't think of anything
else to do, I knocked on the door. A small, elderly man
answered and he said, "We are closed."
"I understand," I said. "But I just need to talk to you
for a minute." After listening to my story, he said, "Well,
all right. I'll take a look at it for you."
After his inspection, the verdict came forth. "I can
fix it," he said.
"Not anything major, but I need a part to do that - and the
store that has that part is not the kind of place we can get
to open on a late Friday afternoon. I can have your truck
My heart sank. I explained to the old fellow that
unfortunately this exam was not the sort of thing you could
be late for. Further, when I applied for a mental health
position somewhere in the next few weeks, telling potential
employers I was "on the list" to take the state board exam
wouldn't help. They would say, "Great. When you pass it and
have your license in hand, come back and we can talk."
So we just sat there for a time, and he said, "What are
you going to do?" I said, "Well, if you don't mind, I would
like to sit here a bit and try to figure that out." He said
I was welcome to sit as long as I liked and went in the
house. I have no idea how long I sat there lost in thought
weighing my non-existent options, but I do remember clearly
being startled when I realized that old fellow and his wife
were standing in front of me.
"I will have your truck ready tomorrow," he said. "You
can pick it up on your way back through."
"On my way back through from where?" I asked.
"From taking your exam," he said - and his wife stepped
forward and put the keys to their car in my hands.
See? That is the thing called "grace." Powerful and
Always accompanied by a big surprise.
Stunned would be an understatement at that moment.
"You’re going to let me take your car on a 200 mile round
trip?" I asked.
"Yes," the old fellow said. "We weren't planning on
going out tonight. We do have two conditions however. One
being we want you to be very careful with our car."
"You have my word on that," I said. "What's the other
"We want you to pass that test," he said.
So now I sit on my porch and think about times when
hope seemed lost...but it wasn't. It's not now. There is
still hope. I also think about Blanche DuBois, the character
in Tennessee William's play, A Streetcar Named Desire. At
the play's end, Blanche says, "I have always depended on the
kindness of strangers."
I know what she means.
BLUE and MIGUEL