Here Comes Grace

I love watching people, especially kids who punctuate their unedited happiness with uncontainable energy. “Ohhh,” I heard a man say, as he reached out to a little girl running full-force in his direction. “Here comes Grace!”

A different type of kid

I spotted a goat standing in a small field next to a rural highway last week. He looked almost like a dog with his head poking through the fence, big floppy ears framing his face. Those ears made me wonder: Was he stuck? I could see a grid of wires forming the fence, and he was just standing, not eating. As my car passed the third time, he was struggling to sit down with his head in the same position.

Reluctant to travel down a long gravel driveway lined with No Trespassing signs, I called the local police office about the animal’s location, emphasizing I was concerned about a goat in trouble on a hot day – accident, not abuse. I drove by 30 minutes later to see the goat grazing next to a buddy, and I imagined how a pair of friendly hands guided those ears back through the fence into freedom.

A girl and her grandmother

Rescuing a turtle from a busy road one hot Saturday meant missing out on a local farmer’s market. I guided my car into a grocery store parking lot instead.

Grocery stores put most of us into hunt-and-gather mode, pulling out phones to access lists written or spoken as we hurry inside. One woman was different. She moved slowly, with what looked like painful effort, through the crosswalk while a girl about 10 years old kept dashing up to her and then back to the glass doors.

“Is that your granddaughter?”

She smiled when she answered yes, and I told her I had so many wonderful memories with my grandmothers. Even shopping at the grocery store was a treat when I was about her age, I said, as the girl ran up to us again at the store’s entrance. “Listen,” her grandmother said. “This lady is talking about her grandmothers.”

I paused, and I repeated my comments before adding, “Grandmothers are special. No one loves you like your grandmother.”

What the woman said next came out so softly, I asked her to repeat it. “I give hugs.” She opened her arms, and so did I. Her shirt felt damp and hot under my hands. “I need a hug,” she whispered.

My mind flashed to the words I didn’t say to the young girl watching us: One day, all you have left of your grandmothers are memories. And in that moment, I was a kid again, needing – and getting – a grandma’s hug.

I touched my heart before I walked inside, saying she had made my day better.

We are not alone; we are connected. Sometimes, the love and goodwill offered to a stranger flows back to us in an unexpected form and even greater portion.

Here comes Grace.