“I’d like to pay for the car behind us,” says my son, Tommy.

The woman collecting the toll smiles, shuffles the money once again and obliges his wish.

Just moments before we vie for a space as we attempt to merge in line to pay the toll. Our leisurely car ride listening to music and chatting about college internships stop once we are rerouted because of an accident. Thus more than likely why the traffic is so heavy exiting the Baltimore tunnel.

I am immediately struck by Tommy’s gesture. I smile, make a joke and say, “What a great thing Tommy. You turned a negative into something positive.”

I am not just speaking of the fact that he has just found it hard to merge in line. I am also speaking of the delay in being rerouted as we scramble to find a new route.

“We spoke about this yesterday,” says Tommy. “You mentioned it as something charitable that we could do this holiday. That guy let me in when the other car wouldn’t.”

We did in fact sit and chat about how we could make small and charitable differences this season. In years past, we were able to help people financially by donating to the church and things like Toys for Tots. The divorce has restricted us financially so I was looking for small, random things that we could do when we are all together. Their college breaks are filled with family, friends and working so I wanted to create opportunity not just planned things like we used to do such as ring the Salvation Army Bell.

It is important to me to have this conversation with my children. While my mother raised us alone I never once heard her say anything except how blessed we were. Then she would usher us towards an elderly woman struggling with groceries and tell us to help her to her car. I want to convey that same grace to my children. Divorce is painful, it isn’t easy and it has changed our lives, yet we continue to be incredibly blessed.

I think now more than ever I want to demonstrate that we must continue to step outside of ourselves in pain.

So absolutely Tommy is correct. I did bring this up as something we could do. However in my stress to navigate an alternative route to the home of our Uncle Tom, I had lost sight of the season.

You could say that stress was temporarily filling in for grace.

I reach for my computer to write this particular column. I peruse a few e-mails first.
In one of my Oprah e-mails I found this quote.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
Hamilton Wright Mabie

My son Tommy reminds me of our blessings. Something I sought to teach him.

Only it looks as though he may be the better professor of ‘grace.’

There truly is no better conspiracy than love.

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