Grace is a party.

'Scotch in solo cups' photo (c) 2010, Kevin Galens - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/I talked about craving grace last week, about wanting to find ways to accept it and extend it. And then this weekend, a situation that required more than I had.

A party, a borrowed house, a 1 AM phone call to break up said party at said borrowed house while the owners were away on vacation.

I’ll tell you this much, nothing makes you (or the friend who’s with you) feel more like an adult than yelling at incoherent teenagers phrases like, “It doesn’t matter how I found out, this party is over!” and “I can call the cops or I can call your mom!” and “I don’t care if you can’t get a ride, are your legs broken?”

I’m not at my most gracious at 1 AM.

But then I think about cleaning puke out of the kitchen sink and I think, maybe I am.

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After the kids had been sent home to be someone else’s problem, I stood at my friends’ kitchen sink scrubbing pots of burnt spaghetti and dumping solo cups of a some kind of red alcohol-based punch.  I shook with anger and prayed for calm.

A party. A borrowed house.  Lots of alcohol.

This wasn’t my house, this wasn’t my sink. This was my friends’ house and it had been violated. And I couldn’t make it okay that it happened, but I could make sure their pots and counters were cleaned.

A party. A borrowed house.  Lots of opportunity for grace.

***************************************

I realize in this moment that what makes this whole grace thing complicated on the human side of things is…well…the human side of things.  We go with what’s easy, and more often than not avoid what’s hard.  When our friends suffer at the hands of a  teenage party, the grace to clean the puke in their kitchen is easy to find. But, grace for the puker or for the kid who threw the party, that’s harder to come by, maybe even that takes a little bit of work.

My friends’ whose house was violated found grace for the kid who threw the party quickly.  They, of course, issued appropriate consequences, but they also expressed love.  I asked them how they did it, and they answered, “Prayer.”

Prayer, it seems to me, is the work of grace.  And it is only through prayer, through being connected to God Himself, that you can look at a kid who puked in your sink after trashing your kitchen and partying in your house and say, “I love you.”

And maybe, because you’re praying, you’re able to clean the sink at 1 AM after a party in a borrowed house.

But, maybe the point is that both are grace.

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