Man I stepped in it. I didn’t mean to. Who ever does? I mean, who goes knowingly into the fire to get burned by the reaction of someone else? No one except maybe someone who’s a masochist. But I sure did. And I got the full weight of the backlash which was not pretty.
What had I done? I started working for the school from which I had just graduated. But, I didn’t realize that I was no longer on a student’s vacation schedule. For some reason, I thought I could make plans to go to Florida without first asking my boss for the time off. Okay, it wasn’t my brightest moment, to say the least. When my boss heard my plans, she was angry at me. She yelled at me and disparaged me for being so dense. “How could you be so obtuse?” She asked me.
So, I answered her the only way I knew.
I told her the truth.
I said, “I didn’t realize I wasn’t working on a student’s schedule. I made a mistake and I’m sorry. I am willing to cancel my plans if you need me to stay over the holiday break.”
She stood there shocked. In all the years of her work experience, no one had ever come out and just told her the truth. (She later told me that most of her employees attempted to cover up their mistakes, made excuses or blamed someone else.). But in that moment, I didn’t want to waste her time. I had made an honest mistake and I was willing to make it right.
In return, she offered me her grace.
She didn’t punish me, she didn’t make me cancel my plans. She gave me a warning and we both moved on. She never mentioned it again and I never made that mistake again.
This taught me two things:
- Telling someone the truth is freeing. I didn’t have to hide. I was willing to accept the consequences and I was free.
- How to be gracious when someone messes up and tells the truth. The act of giving and receiving another’s grace is very powerful, holy and spiritual.
In our society, we are fast to cut another down and we miss out on the spiritual element of grace. It is a tremendous gift that we can give each other.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone’s grace? I’d love to hear about your experience.