musings on grace

grand chandeliers

Saturday I snapped pictures of the Grand River out the corner windows of our hotel room on the ninth floor. Then my husband donned his black tuxedo with the gray vest. I slipped into a little black dress and rhinestone-sparkle heels. We walked under two-ton crystal chandeliers that hung from a gold leaf ceiling, past the fountain, up the stairs, and into the ballroom where we found our places at table 8.

It was the night of the annual company kickoff and awards presentation, a time to reflect and look forward, a time to celebrate temporal success.

It was a night to laugh and to cry.

It was a time to worship.

This is a local office of a very large, very diverse life insurance company, but those who received awards for top sales were also celebrated for humility and generosity and compassion, and they in turn gave glory where glory was due.

They gave their thanks to wives and moms and dads and partners and mentors–and God.

“I thank God,” said one. “because without Him I would not be here. It’s only by His grace that any of us are here.”

Amens echoed around the room.

Most see their work as a calling.

“You have to genuinely care about people and their stories.”

Isn’t that the way it should be for any us? That whether we sell or write or teach or fly or drive a tractor, we would spill light into every corner? That we would walk in a way worthy of our calling, always putting the needs of others first? That we would grasp the honor of serving God right where we are?

We were asked to stand and join hands around our tables for the invocation.

I tell you, these events sometimes are just like going to church.

And as I ate my Caesar salad and broiled cheese-topped tomato and cherry-sauced chicken and creme brulee from several plates with several utensils, I told how Haitian orphans ate rice with their hands from frisbees. How they shared cheese curl crumbs with each other and took turns licking the inside of a Goldfish snack-sized bag. I told how hard it was to come back to commercial Christmas.

Later as my husband and I lay in bed on several pillows under a down comforter with drapes wide open, I could see the city lights and the water, and I heard the heat kick on and off. And in my mind I saw the children asleep in their bunks, on bare black mattresses, in a dark concrete building.

And I thought it’s only by His grace that we are here.

But then maybe it’s by His grace that they are there.













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Sandra Heska King
PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.
Sandra Heska King

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16 Comments

  1. Beautiful, thoughtful reflection, Sandra. We are indeed blessed people. So. very. blessed. If I see nothing else around me, may my eyes be open to His grace. His amazing, abundant grace.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks, Patricia. Yes, we’re so blessed–and so often don’t realize how much or acknowledge it. Yet… I can’t stop thinking about the team member who said she had to come to Haiti to find Jesus. Sometimes it seems the blessings block our view.

  2. oh friend, this touched my heart. i believe it’s all grace and all is hope and we open wide and he fills whether in a highrise with diamonds or a hovel with coals. there is more than enough grace to cover us all, to redeem it all.
    thanks for this beautiful inspire,
    Jennifer

    • Sandra Heska King

      “A highrise with diamons or a hovel with coals.” You have such a way with words. Yes, there’s more than enough for all…

  3. “maybe it’s by His grace that they are there.” We are too quick to say our rich blessings and awards are “grace.” This may not be the best example, but the winning football players give God all the glory, while the million dollar football stars who lost walk off the field, alone. God’s grace is with them, too. Or maybe more with them? This is a good reminder to keep perspective. A challenge in our abundance.

    • Sandra Heska King

      And I have to keep reminding myself that He lavishes love and blessings and grace in all kinds of sizes and shapes and colors and in ways sometimes that shatter my lenses. And that when I fret thinking I have more than or less than, i have to remember that He dispenses the perfect prescription for each of us in each season.

  4. Tears for this Sandra – these thoughts melt my heart and remind me that God is over me here in Texas just as He is over the Haitian babies in Haiti.

  5. Brandee Shafer

    Sounds like a magical evening. Bless you for remembering (even in the middle of it) those with so much less, so very far away.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Nothing looks or feels the same since I came back from Haiti, Brandee. I’m still trying to find the balance. And yes, these evenings are fun. :)

  6. oh my goodness sandra. that last line? it answers so many questions i have… thank you…

    • Sandra Heska King

      Even though they have nothing by our standards, they have enough. In some cases, maybe more. One of our team members made the comment that they (the children) don’t need us–Haiti needs them. They’ve been scooped off the streets (the first 70 were earthquake victims) and into a place where God reigns and they are loved. What could be more than enough than that? I have to keep reminding myself of that.

  7. I like what you reveal about yourself here, that in the face of luxury you are thinking of others. Awesome.

    • Sandra Heska King

      That experience is hard to get out of my mind, Robert. Forever changed.

  8. It’s never lost on me that the posts I set aside to read “later” are actually coming to me at the perfection of His time. I’ve been in those “differently lighted” places too. I don’t want to say “dark” because it was a different like I saw in Kenya and in the Ukraine and in the various other places He’s taken me and I pray will continue to show me. And while it’s difficult to come back to the ridiculous abundance we enjoy–and often neglect and abuse–I have come to learn that the contrast is what’s so necessary for my growth…so that I can begin to truly taste what is truly good and seldom has it been creme brulee. Blessings Sister!

    • Sandra Heska King

      I like that perspective–sometimes we have to taste the bitter in order to taste what is good. Still, sometimes I wonder if what I tasted there is sweeter than the creme brulee. Someday maybe Kenya…

      And yes, His timing is perfect. Thanks so much for coming by “later.” :)

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