I sat on the floor of the shower holding a bottle of white, liquid soap. My head was tilted up as streams of warm water rained down my face washing away fresh tears. The cries were fewer and farther between, but they still came at times. Grief would come in waves they told me, and it has.
Three months earlier, we had lost our mom to cancer and, that day, I was headed back to her house to face the cabinets, drawers, and closets, not just of her things, but of her memory and of my memories with her. I didn’t want to go but, more truthfully than that, I didn’t want her to be gone anymore. I looked down at the nearly empty bottle of soap in my hand. It had been part of a present from our mom to my sister, Amy, and I. A simple, soap and lotion, gift set in the midst of the complicated twists and turns of cancer life. A little gift labeled and branded Pure Grace.
I remember standing there the day she gave it to us hugging in my kitchen, the three of us arms intertwined, heads touching, staring at our shoes…huddling over that simple gift of soap, lotion, and grace. Unspoken words rumbled through our minds as we asked someone to take a picture, not because this was the first time we had ever huddled that way, but because current circumstances and possibilities gnawed within us. We wanted to capture how we loved each other.
Not long after that day, we were back in my home again. This time a hospital bed was set up in my bedroom for our mom, and my house had become a revolving door of nurses and friends and family from all over stopping by each day to bring food, or flowers, or letters, or candles, or paper goods, or drinks, or to pick up laundry, or kids, or just to stay and visit….or to say goodbye. This was hospice care. This was the unwanted end we had been fighting against, however, a beautiful, loving end if there had to be one.
Amy and I spent most the time on either side of our mom, our arms sometimes intertwined, our heads sometimes touching hers, huddling over the gift of grace in our mother and clinging to the gift of grace in our God. The grace that gave us the courage to whisper in her ear, “It’s ok to go home.”
And so I sat on the floor of the shower gripping that bottle of white liquid soap, that now nearly empty bottle of Pure Grace, and it registered, gratefully, that true grace is never empty.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
And here I was sad, and weak, and in need of much grace…but not the kind that comes in a bottle because, at the end of the day, we all know that’s just soap. But true grace. The kind that helps you face loss with hope, the kind that helps you choose forgiveness, thankfulness, and joy. The kind of grace that gets you up off the floor of the shower and is never almost empty because it never runs out.
His grace, thankfully, never runs out and with such grace, an end is transformed to a beginning.