I have a remarkable friend named Paula who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in her forties. She is now nearly two decades into the relentless throes of this non-curable, progressive disease. Over the years we’ve laughed and cried over everything from the end of Paula’s fashionista high heels to the beginning of her t-shirts and yoga pants wardrobe. We’ve lamented her loss of mobility, difficulty with speech, and inability to play on the floor with her beautiful granddaughters. Although, I worry that using the word “lament” implies that Paula is full of regret and self-pity, which is far from the truth. She brightly and consistently occupies what she refers to as “the best seat in the house,” a simple black wheelchair pushed by her adoring husband, Charlie.
Paula has eloquently written about her decision to savor her “best” seat, even when it feels like a distant spot in the bleachers as she cheers on the ones she loves. Paula writes that when she continually surrenders her way of life to God, she receives a kind of freedom. “A freedom not to feel I need answers for everything. A freedom not to speculate too heavily on what tomorrow will bring, a freedom from asking why I wound up in this seat and freedom to stop looking at seats occupied by others with envy or pity. It has allowed me to accept the most simple of truths…to accept and thrive in the place I’m sitting. My seat. Truly the best seat in the house.”
In her beautiful wisdom, Paula has come to embody what the psalmist understands: in the end, grace has the last word—not enemies or disease, not sin or failure or loss. In the end, the most basic promise of our faith is that God’s grace wins.
What dark place or what uncomfortable reality in your life do you need to hand over to God?
God, even as defeated as we sometimes feel, we know that ultimate victory comes in you. In you and through you, may we claim the grace that is victorious for our own lives. Amen.