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It is the voice of shame that leads him to the kitchen to cry alone. Shame that slumps his shoulders so that they stare at the silverware drawer and never grab a spoon.

Shame and fear.

He has estimated the worst. And cannot eat. Cannot lift his eyes to the same table where his sister sits. Cannot swallow.

At the sight of his swollen eyes, I tap the kitchen stool that has scarred my shins. And at the first touch of my arms around him, my boy melts like a campfire marshmallow against my chest and the two of us balance on the stool eight inches off the ground. His legs swooped over mine. His voice a squeak in my ear.

“It was my fault,” he says.

And I strain for the story that is slow in coming. The one staggered by hot breaths and shamed whispers.

He has broken his sister’s necklace. Pulled on the chain with both hands in opposite directions–“just to see,” he said. And now that he has seen, he is devastated. And scared.  Scared less for the broken chain, as for her face. The one that will be drop in disappointment. The one that will tell him that this was her favorite necklace–the one he just ruined. The one that will sigh and finally tremble, “I just can’t forgive him right now.”

When that is what he needs. Her forgiveness.

I give the run down to Husband who shakes his head. We both want to save our boy. Both want to spare his heart the pain. But it is Husband who says, “sometimes we need to face hard things.” And he is right.

At the table my boy sits. His cheeks flushed, ablaze like furnaces. Husband sits beside him. And on his other side his sister.

His voice is uncertain, but he begins. His eyes seek her face as his lips tell first about how sorry he is and second about what happened.

But her response is beyond his estimation.

She is quick, light even. No. She is full of light. She sees the break, but assures him as her fingers brush the chain that it is nothing. A new chain can be found.

And like that his cheeks are cooling, and his eyes widening. And he is telling her that he will buy that chain for her. He wants to. He must.

They are laughing now. And joy is echoing in the hallway as they scramble for traction in their socks. The chain forgotten.


Because of grace.

Unexpected. Undeserved.



2 Responses to “Graced”

  1. Linda H says:

    Beautiful … Beautiful children, beautiful hearts, beautifully written.

  2. Carolyn Moore says:

    I was hanging on the cliff all the way to see what sister would say. Such a great story of forgiveness and grace. Well done, Jeanne.

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