The Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead is a long letter that the speaker, John Ames, writes to his young son. I have thought repeatedly about many of the lines in the book, but none more than this one.
“I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle… If only I had the words to tell you.” (emphasis added)
The book is an arrestingly beautiful reminder that grace, the unearned and unbidden love of God, saves us from our silliness and self-sabotage. And this quote in particular functions to remind me to attend to this grace as a parent.
The ability to say to a child, “you have been God’s grace to me,” is one of the finest gifts a parent can receive. The care that then comes from this realization is one of the finest gifts we can give to a child.