The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 25, 2023 - 12:01:45

A gift of grace along the way

Katie van Schaijik, Jul 16, 2017

A week or so ago, we had an unpleasant encounter with a former friend in a church parking lot. It was a case of us trying to establish and maintain boundaries that she didn't want and saw as scandalous and wounding and unchristian. Such moments are always fraught for me. I get tense and vulnerable and unsure of myself.

This time, I felt okay. We had stood our ground and stayed clear. We were stiff, but not rude. 

Immediately after, we made a stop at the grocery store. Jules dropped me off and went to get gas. Knowing the encounter or something like it might be repeated, I gave myself a pep talk as I went through the doors, "Walk tall, Katie."

Sure enough, there she was in produce—emotional and blaming. It was awkward. But I managed not to get too drawn in and not to say anything I would regret later. I moved on to my shopping, feeling distracted, but not unduly rattled. I told myself, "It's okay that you didn't handle that perfectly. You don't have to be perfect."

Approaching dairy, I noticed a white-haired man I didn't recognize standing in the center of the aisle, facing me and smiling broadly. I gave a somewhat confused smile in return and kept going my way. But he made a point of stepping toward me. He had something he wanted to say: "It's so great to see a tall person walking tall!"

It was a sweet and gentle reassurance straight from God—like the hug a loving father might give a small, timid child—as if He were wanting me know: "You're ok. You're on track. Don't worry what others think. I see you walking tall, and it gives me pleasure."