When You Need Extraordinary Grace on an Ordinary Day

I wonder what the bank assistant is thinking. As she types our information into her computer, she’s listening to the conversation my friend and I have been having as we sit in the soft chairs across from her desk.

My friend: How many years have we known each other? 12?

Me: Actually it’s been longer than that. About 20 years.

[time elapses]

My friend: We’ve known each other about 12 years, right?

Me: More than that—20 years.

[time elapses]

My friend: How long have we known each other? 12 years, right?

Me: Nope. 20.

[time elapses]

The bank assistant prints out the paperwork. My friend signs her name.

My friend now starts in on her:

Do you like Elvis Presley? I like Charlie Pride. My mother liked Charlie Pride. Do you still have a mother? You’re lucky you have a mother. I wish I still had a mother.

The assistant smiles. Today is the first day she’s met us. But I’m guessing she won’t soon forget us. I wonder if she’ll go home tonight and tell her partner about today’s conversations.

Thirty minutes have passed. We’ve finally finished our business. We stand up to leave. I look the assistant eye to eye and genuinely thank her for her help and her patience.

She hands me her card. She tells me to call her if I need anything, anything at all.

She smiles again. I do, too.

In the future when I have moments of doubt—are there still kind strangers in this crazy, crazy world???—I will think of this bank assistant. Of her extraordinary gift of grace to us on an ordinary Thursday afternoon in an ordinary bank office when I walked in with my extraordinary friend.

My friend’s attention has again returned to me.

My friend: We’ve known each other 12 years, right?

Me: Sure. Can you believe it? 12 years and counting.

Where have you seen extraordinary grace on an ordinary day? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image: When You Need Extraordinary Grace

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17 thoughts on “When You Need Extraordinary Grace on an Ordinary Day

  1. Suzette K.

    Lisa, I think we all need extraordinary grace from time to time. And your story made me smile because I realize, more often than I care to admit, I might be the reason someone else needs it. Go figure.

  2. Carol

    It’s heartbreaking to watch the personality of a beloved friend of family member recede into the fog of dementia. Kudos to you for your grace and kindness. And kudos to the bank employee for her patience and understanding. Yes, there are many kind and empathetic people working in positions where they meet the public. I’ve been privileged to observe them on many occasions. Thanks for sharing a beautiful story.

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, such a sweet story of kindness and compassion. And it is far easier to give than to conjure up something ugly to say. What many do not realize is that they are poisoning themselves as well as those at whom they spew their meanspiritedness! JUST MADE UP A WORD! And I would say that you, yourself, exhibit extraordinary grace as a rule of thumb, in emulation of the One who defined grace in His sacrifice!

  4. Donna

    Lisa, I loved this story. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked or sat with patients and families, in a similar scenario. I remember one daughter who was excessively harsh and impatient with her mom, and even me when I chose to be patient and listen to mom’s repeating herself. I can only hope some day when I am in need of that grace someone will be kind enough to offer it.

  5. Michele Morin

    This reminds me of the phone conversations I had with a sweet friend who lived out her last.days of dementia in Florida. At one point I told her that even after she had forgotten me, I would remember her and would hold our friendship in my memory for both of us.

  6. Lisa Blair

    What a sweet friend you are, Lisa! And what a sweet encounter at the bank. It brings a smile to my heart and to my face to hear of the grace and the kindness extended to you and your friend in the “ordinary” task of going to the bank.

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