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Deanna Bartalini learns why she needed to write and think about grace.

Back in February, I wrote 3 Ways to Extend Grace. I’ll give you a quick synopsis: listen to people’s story, think the best of each person you meet and pray for others. After I sent the article, I was given an opportunity to extend grace in a very real way. My mother called with an emergency involving my father. She told me he had a stroke. (FYI, he did not, he had fainted.) During that time and continuing up to now, my father has been in and out of the hospital, with no final diagnosis or relief of his pain and sleeplessness.

In the moment, it seemed plausible that he had a stroke, though once I saw her and she told me what had happened and what the paramedics said, it did not. But you can picture the scene: I hurriedly put on sneakers, grab my purse, keys, phone, don’t forget the face mask, and go.

I get to the light at the end of our main road out, the light is red, so I stop, looking for a chance to make a right on red (legal here in Florida). I’m praying and watching traffic ... and then I feel a big bump and am jolted forward.

I stop praying and revert to other types of words and look at who hit me.

I am furious, almost in tears, waving my arms, not very happy. I get out of my car and look at the bumper, the man (maybe 30 years old) is apologizing, and I am not pleased. I start to speak and then stop as the voice in my head says, oaky maybe screams, “GRACE! EXTEND GRACE!”

Deep breath.

I see a rosary hanging from his rear-view mirror. I’m still upset but I manage to tell him why and he says he’ll pray for my dad. I take his name and number, but I never called him. There was no need. The car was fine; I was fine.

dashboard view of car with Rosary handing from mirror

Click to tweet:
Opportunities abound to extend grace. Do we use them? #catholicmom

That day I realized and was reminded about a few things.

The words I write are for me as much as they are for you.

If I don’t do what I suggest to others, then the words are just words, empty of meaning or purpose. St. Paul might call me a clanging gong.

We can choose our response.

Words have power. Grace is real. God cares. God sees us and protects us. Extend grace, it helps you and the other person.

Opportunities abound to extend grace. Do we use them?

Copyright 2021 Deanna Bartalini
Image: Darla Dela Rosa (2020), Unsplash