Greasy Grace

Yesterday afternoon, I sat in one of our (many) local coffee joints. I nursed a badly-needed double shot mocha and waited for my friend to arrive. A thought popped into my head. It’s not a new one, by any means. What if grace is greasier than we ever thought? When I say grace, I don’t mean her.

grace kelly(If you don’t know who this is, see me after class). The lady in the picture probably never got greasy. Ever.

We spent a good chunk of time on Saturday at BoomShaka. Ruby’s birthday shenanigans got delayed due to her illness last weekend. Still can’t believe she’s 12 now! BoomShaka involves jumping, climbing, and generally catapulting yourself into pits of foam.

boomshaka foam pitThat rectangle filled with multi-colored items is rather amazing. The blocks are about 5″x 5″ and look like this:

foam cubes.jpgAs we stood in line to sign waivers for the kiddos, I read the instructions posted on the wall. Only one jumper per trampoline at a time. No running. You must wear regulation socks, ones you brought with grippie suction on the bottom, or bought at the front desk. Yikes! Last but not least, do NOT bite the blocks.

Um. Okay. Sidenote: A lot of the blocks *did* have nibble-marks on them. Wasn’t me.

What does this have to do with greasy grace? I’m getting to that.

Ruby and her two cousins walked to the trampolines. I had an hour to play with them. I trailed behind, taking it all in. Being a smidge older than 12, I had no plans to hurt myself. I stepped gingerly onto the trampoline.

“C’mon, Mom!” Ruby urged, face one huge smile. She bounced next to me on her own black square.

I jumped up and down. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, either. We visited nearly every station. One of Ruby’s cousins, the fearless one, swung off the trapeze straight into the enormous pile of foam waiting below. Not me. I struggled with the idea of jumping into the foam. Was it really for adults, too? Would it be enough padding?

Finally, after watching the girls jump in, I tried it. I bounced off a trampoline and cannonballed into the chunky abyss. It was…soft. I didn’t hurt anything. I tried to wrestle myself free of the foamy pieces. It was hard to break the surface of the moving pile. I pulled up and grabbed the lip of the hole. I managed to scramble to a standing position.

That was graceful.

After that, I didn’t care. I kept jumping into unsuspecting towers of squishiness, making sure no small children lurked in their midst. I swung out on filmy curtains over yet another chunky pool. But what I noticed about the little kids – toddlers – is they fell on their faces in the blocks. They didn’t care. They didn’t worry about getting hurt or maintaining their dignity. What dignity? In fact, they almost floated on the top. Their slight mass didn’t depress the foam like the rest of us did. Our greater mass sent us sinking quicker and harder. Gravity is a cruel mistress.

The thing is, all of us could get out. The foam, acting as a sort of grace agent, allowed us to get back on our feet and jump again. And again, and again. You know what? It was fun. I watched Ruby regain her inner tigress as she scaled the rigging over a pit. She clambered across a string of swings to get to the other side. She bounced up and down the line of trampolines, confident, joyful and at peace. All the girls could flip and skip and know they would come out fine.

Isn’t that the point? Yes, I’m a great advocate of having fun. We’re so serious as Christians, and especially as adults. We don’t try new things. We fear making mistakes. We don’t want to look bad, or worse yet, sin and miss the mark.

But grace. Perhaps it should have a capital G: Grace.

Grace allows us to fall down and get back up again. We can try something new, something that scares and excites us, all at once. Grace means we have freedom to fail. We can shrug, stand up, and dust ourselves off if it doesn’t work out. We can forgive ourselves and others and move on, when situations cause pain. We don’t  have to stay down, stuck in the pit like some dinosaur glommed to a La Brea tar pit. The pit is temporary, and it’s cushioned with multifaceted grace.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. – Ephesians 2:8