“I once knew a girl named Kay, she grew up and still wanted to play, so she made up her facie, like a clown, then came Gracie, who sent Kay running out the doorway…”.
A friend of mine once told me a story. She said that she had always wanted to be a clown. She enjoyed making people happy. She wanted to bring joy to children where she had been deprived of it in her own childhood. She shared stories. Wonderful stories of laughing, smiling children standing in long lines filled with noisy, ruddy little faces of all shapes and sizes. Each little face had a shiny expression of uncontained excitement, patiently and not so patiently, awaiting their turn to see the clown. Small chubby fists tightly clenching dollar bills in anxious anticipation of being next in line to yell out their favorite color that would be magically and swiftly transformed into an animal, with a twist of the clown’s hands, from an ordinary latex balloon.
Kay the clown was amazing and colorful with a neverending smile, big floppy feet and bright red hair. A colorful satiny outfit with vivid dots of colors in red, blue, yellow, orange and green made all the children squeal with delight because it alerted them to Kay’s presence. She began to enjoy it so immensely that she not only wanted to attend public events but expand it into a personal experience by bringing it into peoples homes. One of the most popular venues for her growing business was children’s birthday parties.
Children’s birthday parties were always so much fun. Excited little faces would anxiously greet her at the door with wonder and delight. Parents would smile with sighs of relief knowing that Kay the clown was about to bring varied entertainment and distraction to their children giving them a well desired break. There were always some kids that would cry initially but when they would see all the other children participating and all the amazing things Kay could do they would be drawn into a blind state of awe mixed with curiosity. By the time the show was over and Kay was done she would be exhausted, but it was all well worth it knowing that parents and children were equally satisfied with her performance. Word of mouth would prove invaluable marketing for her clown parties. Her desire to be a clown had been fulfilled. She had built up her clown empire and had accomplished her goal of making people happy by doing so. Kay had successfully discovered her talent and had used it to bring joy to others. Life was good until one day appeared a girl named Gracie.
Gracie was an unhappy child which was made apparent by the sneer on her face and the snicker in her voice everytime she made some adultish comment. More than likely she was just a product of her home but the reality was that as a child she was difficult, to say the least. Nothing made Gracie happy and Kay the clown, not through lack of effort, would change that.
When Gracie met Kay something invisible transpired and they were somehow connected in some universal bond that rivaled that of the Montagues and Capulets, unbeknowest to Kay. From their very first encounter Kay knew Gracie did not like her and the kid made it a point to antagonize her every chance she got.
“You ain’t no real clown, clown!” Gracie would yell at Kay the moment she would arrive, often seperated from the other kids waiting outside at the mailbox leading up the given home’s entryway.
“Those aren’t real clown shoes, clown!”, she would scream as she stomped heavily on Kay’s real toes with her patent leather Maryjane shoes and lace fringed socks.
Kay would only smile and grumble under her breathe at what a rotten kid Gracie was. She could not believe that someone so small could be so mean and hateful. After about a year of Gracie run-ins it became apparent that she was not going away. It was because of so many encounters with Gracie, combined with other issue, that resulted in Kay the clown deciding that her clowning career had finally come to an end. And so she decided with a heavy heart to hang up her clown suit and pursue other talents.
We are all born with God given talent. Life throws in unexpected situations that affect us in all sorts of emotional and spiritual ways, both negative and positive. How we deal with those obstacles become crucial to our development and will determine whether our talent is strengthened or weakened, transforming us into who we are to become. Discovering our talent, though transformative, can also be daunting. It happens when we come up against a “Gracie” shaped in the form of opposition to the goals that we are trying to acheive. Opposition can overshadow our circumstance and blind us to everything that is involved. Sometimes there is a bigger picture. We fail to realize that there is a lesson to be learned. A lesson that always begins with us.
Grace is a gift given by God even though we don’t deserve it. God gave us Jesus the Christ who died on the cross serving as an atonement for our sins. Whether we receive that grace or not does not change the fact that we can not earn our way to it, God or heaven. Life obstacles are for our benefit so that we learn to face challenges head on and work through the storm to continue developing our talents to be used for the benefit of others and God’s kingdom. When we fail to recognize that opposition is a humbling experience that ultimately strengthens us and builds up those around us in the process, we can miss out on some of life’s greatest rewards. Others are constantly watching us to see how we react to situations and our response to difficulty unintentionally affects their lives and habits. Extending grace to others can be challenging, but extremely effective. When we can see past our own self, look beyond the pain of another usually disguised as depression, anger, disrespect, or even blatant hatred, we have tapped into the very grace that God extends to us daily. Then when that obstacle shows itself through another we can look up into the beautiful blue sky and realize that through our choices we can be the difference, and that without the grace there is only Gracie.