Grace in the Pause


The uncomfortable phone call I’d been thinking about for months was today. It’s been on my mind—an annoying fly incessantly circling my head—this planned and practiced list of disappointments I'd promised myself to share. But I have to admit I’m worried my words might only make things worse. I glanced at the clock to check how much time I had before my unloading began.


Only enough time to . . . I don’t know . . . maybe try to figure out why this upcoming conversation already feels unproductive, almost pointless. Swiveling my chair away from the desk, I stared out the window into a darkening sky. Wondering.


When I focused again I was looking directly at a book, written by an author who never fails to both challenge and comfort me. I reached for it, opened it randomly and scanned some pages. Nothing helpful. Crap! I stretched to return it to its pile and a thin slice of paper drifted out. On that small scrap, I had scribbled exactly what I needed to remember today.


Pause . . . to deliberate, rethink, delay response . . . until you’re ready. I read again the words on that torn bit of paper and then, most importantly, remembered WHO had introduced me to the quote I believed important enough to scramble for paper, jot it down, and later slip into a beloved book. This particular “who” is actually the person I’m scheduled to speak with in less than an hour.


What I’d copied down was wisdom originally offered by television personality, Craig Ferguson, and contained in three-questions. It goes like this: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said right now? Does this need to be said right now by me?”


And, does it? Hmmmm. . .. Yep; no matter how uncomfortable, I know this truth really does need saying.

Finally, the ah ha!

I’ve not been wrestling with the what of the message, but the how of delivering it. From there it only took a few minutes for me to add my own question: “Do I need to bring grace into what’s being said right now by me?”


My next 30 minutes were spent reconsidering how to candidly wrap my same list of truths in compassion rather than anger and disappointment. When the phone rang, I answered it a different person than when I began. And, when it ended? Sure, I was glad to have it over, but even more thankful to have participated in an interaction that was more “do unto others” than “take no prisoners.”


Here’s what grace is teaching me: When I come face-to-face with a way to deliver some grace to another, I get to walk into its generosity and kindness at the same time. I count that as a really good deal all around.


Wishing you gracious encounters as you journey on – Jane


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