June 19, 2018
WORKING HANDS OF GRACE
Today is my wife and my wedding anniversary. Like every good husband, I am faced with the daunting task of figuring out what to give my wife for our special day. Oh, I made dinner reservations, and I got her some cards with better sentiments printed inside then I ever could have written, but what about a gift? As I pondered my anniversary gift quandary, my mind wandered to an event that occurred on my mission trip to El Salvador a couple of weeks ago. You may remember that I promised to write more of that trip, so here goes.
On our first full day in-country, we were traveling by bus to our home-base site in the northern jungles of El Salvador. During the bus ride, we stopped for lunch at a predetermined restaurant along the way. As interpreters assisted with the food ordering, I slipped away to use the restroom. When I found the men’s room, there was a tradesman busily working to remodel the bathroom I needed to use. He was plastering the walls in the bathroom…with his bare hands! He had no tools. Just his weathered hands which he dipped into a cracked plastic bucket filled with plaster. He would scoop out a measure of the material and then deftly spread the goo into an artistic mosaic pattern of dips, curves, flattened plains, and swirling shapes. With each handful of plaster, he would leave a swath of amazing beauty, almost artistry, on the walls of the bathroom I needed to use.
At one point, this humble craftsman looked up, realized I needed to use the one person at-a-time facility he was making more beautiful than it deserved or needed to be, and he quickly wiped his hands on a dirty cloth and then, with a sweeping gesture, he beckoned me to enter his canvas. After I left the restroom, I continued to watch this man from my seat in the restaurant. Each time one of the folks from our party wanted to use the bathroom, this man would repeat the process of stopping his work, wiping his hands, and welcoming another foreign guest into his workshop (bathroom).
He must have had to stop, wipe, and welcome people just trying to relieve themselves at least 20 times! No one seemed to notice his work, or his patience. Never once did he scowl. Never once did he grumble. Never once did he make any gesture that would let anyone know that his constant stopping, wiping, welcoming, repeat, was in any way an annoyance to him. You know what I was witnessing in this man’s example, I was seeing GRACE in action.! It was beautiful to behold! I’ll never know how that bathroom plaster job turned out, but what I did see from this gentle man is the gift I am going to try and give my wife more often, starting today. I am going to try and be filled with more grace. I can’t plaster, even with tools, but I can be loving, I can be hospitable, I can be a husband of humility and grace. I HOPE she notices, but even if she doesn’t, God will and His grace is my daily goal. I pray it is yours as well. As you make your way through life today, look for grace in others and let them see it in you. It can and will make a difference. OK, I gotta go. It’s time for another bathroom break. Wonder what grace I will see along my way. Guess I better start looking. How about you?