Hamilton High Parking Lot Instructions

7:22 A.M. finds the Hamilton High Parking Lot swarming with hormonal, panicked and nearly late teenage drivers and/or a parent of some kind. Monday through Friday between 7:12 and 7:22 I drop off my two, panicked, nearly late, hormonal teenage daughters.

Instructions/thoughts/prayers/fervent hopes I have derived at 7:24 in order to survive the parking lot and where it leads:

Look both ways before you are in the middle of the traffic.

Please find more clothes that cover more of you. You aren’t prepared for the kind of attention you’re asking for.

Please don’t kiss anyone today. At least not someone I don’t know. Or like.

Stand up to Mrs. *&*!@%$%^*!

Do your best at something today.

Get an idea of who you want to be.

Be grateful you get to go to school. At some point in your four years, realize this is a privilege.

Please survive the day.

Please don’t be tempted beyond your values.

Come home when school is over and tell me something – out loud.

Please let me hug you the moment I see you…or at least before you go to bed – at midnight.

Note to self: I will, with super-human power, resist reacting to your ever changing attitude, so we will both live to see you graduate.

Please don’t let this be the next Columbine.

Pay attention to the very heavy moving vehicles in the parking lot! They are all driven by teenagers checking out the other “beautiful” teenagers walking blithely in front of them, or by parents devising instructions to save you from yourself and the rest of the world. On a side note: We can’t afford the emergency room.

Please make it safely to the curb.

Be brave and step off the curb confidently. But look first.

I will miss this parking lot in three and a half years.

How to Accept a Gift

He handed me a tiny blue bag. Every girl who has, well, been alive, recognizes this exact shade of Tiffany Blue.

My first ever…AND there was a tiny little

Tiffany Blue

box inside!! A little box!!! Little boxes contain the best things.
I didn’t want to open it. It was wrong. I didn’t want a gift. To receive a gift of any kind is always humbling, but in this instance, I really did not feel right about accepting a present. And I love presents. Especially presents that might be contained in a

Tiffany Blue


He said “Santa left something under the tree for you.”

Oh, it was from Santa.

“How to accept a gift?” I managed somehow to say out loud.

“Really? You’re asking me this?” he replied as he clasped his hands to his head as if to press down any further emotion from potentially escaping.

I did nothing to deserve this. I only came along for the ride.

It’s the same with grace; doing nothing, coming along for the ride and then loveliness appearing almost out of nowhere to be taken just because it was offered.

Only grace doesn’t come all neatly wrapped in a trademark box. It’s harder to spot.

To accept seems to imply worthiness. I have pretty much spent my entire life trying to prove that I am unworthy. I’m very good at it. I have almost perfect proof that this is true and I’m not alone in this skill.

Has anyone ever felt they deserved to be forgiven?

Or that there was enough grace to cover a million mistakes?

Or to be healed?

Did the witnesses at Jesus crucifixion feel worthy to be saved?

Jesus whole point was that we are all worth dying for, even those of us humbled at the foot of the cross, in doubt. Yet Jesus opened up his hands for the nails – as if anyone was someone worth dying for. Even those of us trying to prove otherwise.

How to accept a gift like that? I don’t fully know. But, I did. I do. Accept it.

I opened the

Tiffany Blue

box because if I didn’t, I would hurt the giver. Oh, what I do every day that hurts the giver, just by stopping short of unwrapping all that is offered.

Inside the box was an Elsa Perretti necklace significantly called “The Origin of Life.” That’s the name of the necklace, “The Origin of Life” and it was given to me by the friend who accepted my husband’s kidney. This friend must have wondered at some point if he was worth dying for. But he heard “Yes, you are” and he had to accept that. His gift was wrapped up in a


Interesting wrapping. Almost as recognizable as

Tiffany Blue.

The necklace has what appears to be a kidney bean on a thin silver chain. It looks a little bit like a jelly bean. I haven’t taken it off. Daily it reminds me to open up what is offered, even if I don’t recognize the color of the box right off the bat.