September 19 – Blanketed in Grace

by Sherrey Meyer

Grace means many things–a name, a note in music, a fluid movement in dance, the composition of artwork, forgiveness. Although many definitions exist for grace, my favorite is found in 2 Cor. 12:9 (The Message): “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” David Reagan, pastor at Antioch Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN, says he likes to call this “God’s enoughness.”

In 2001, we moved my mother from Tennessee to Oregon in order to care for her. An unsafe nursing home situation mandated the move and gave her a greater sense of safety.

The most difficult part of caring for mother was the fact that ours had always been a strained relationship. Elements of verbal and emotional abuse comprised mother’s discipline with my brothers and me. Just before the move through a third party, I realized that Mother’s childhood had great bearing on her temperament. However, this didn’t diminish the pain or invisible scars.

Ten months after the move Mother was speaking less and spending more time sleeping. Communication became difficult. Although she was in an excellent facility and well cared for, I needed to know I was meeting her needs. One afternoon when I stopped by to collect her laundry, Mother seemed more awake than usual. A good time to try to get her to talk.

“Mom,” I said. “I’ve been wondering if all your needs are being met. If you don’t let me know, I can’t be certain everything is going as it should.”

An almost imperceptible nod and she softly responded, “Everything is just fine. You have done everything just right.” A slight smile and closing eyes let me know she was finished.

My heart pounding, I picked up the laundry bag and made my way to the door. I could hardly see through my tears. Here I was 57 years old, walking through the rain to my car crying over just a few words. All I had ever wanted to hear from her were words of love, approval and affirmation. Not once in my life could I remember hearing favorable words. And now, she had affirmed me as having done a good job caring for her over such a short period of time!

After I got in the car, I just sat there, processing what had just happened. Suddenly I felt awash in a diaphanous mist of comfort and healing, like a blanket wrapped around me on a cool night. Although my memories from childhood would always linger in the background, my heart was soaring with abandon in this recognition of love and approval. Our history together had not been mentioned in the past 10 months — the hurts we had inflicted, the pain felt by flying words and hands, no apologies, no mention of forgiveness.

Nothing other than grace could have brought this extraordinary exchange into play. Grace had the power to make it happen, and on that day grace was complete in its “enoughness.”

Sherrey Meyer is a wife, mom, grandma and great-grandma living in Portland, OR, with her husband, Bob. She is avid about books, needlework of all kinds, and writing. Currently, Sherrey is working on a memoir.


4 responses to “September 19 – Blanketed in Grace

  1. Sherrey, that’s a very sensitive telling of a very poignant story. The same thing happened for me with my father, but in reverse . . we had butted heads all my life, he constantly deprecating, insulting me, and tearing me down, but when he was on his deathbed I suddenly knew in my heart what HE needed to hear from ME, and I told him he had done a fine job as a dad, done everything he needed to to, and there was nothing more he needed to worry about or feel responsible for. With that said, he took his last breath and was gone from us. And at that moment I knew that the words that had come through me were true.

  2. In writing my mother’s memoir I finally learned why she was so difficult, and wished I had known so much earlier. I hear mild echoes of your story in mine. Funny and sad how life works. I’m very happy for you, Sherrey, and for your mother.

  3. Sherrey,
    This was such a lovely post. I feel lifted up by reading it. It affirms the presence of grace and the powers of words. Thank you.

  4. Sherrey, I’ve known so many people, including my father, who waited far too long to hear words of affirmation and to receive the grace of a parent’s love. I wanted to wrap you in a blanket too after reading this. But with grace, a blanket is always available. Peace and joy to you.

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