Yesterday was the faculty and staff party at my son's elementary school. Once a year the PTO calls on me to ride herd on 300 fourth through sixth graders. Yesterday I was stationed on the playground. It was an insightful experience that took my back to my childhood.
The children played "box ball," a timeless game that was called "four square" in my youth. A student stands in one of four equal squares that are all connected so as to form one large square. Students bounce a ball between the four squares. The goal is for you to pass the ball to another square without it bouncing twice in your own square, or without the ball going "out of bounds." That is where it gets a little tricky. Apparently there is no rule to deal with what happens when the ball is "on the line."
Enter the timeless tradition of school children everywhere: the "do-over." Ball hits a line. Do over. Someone walk through the playing area? Do over. Is there a dispute about carrying the ball rather than hitting it. Do over.
I wish "do over" was an option for me. I oversleep and missed an appointment. Just call a do over. My brain slips a gear and I buy my wife a kitchen appliance for our anniversary. Do over. My kid flunks her math test and I freak out like she's suddenly lost her scholarship to M.I.T. Do over.
Come to think of it, that's what grace is. It is a divine do over. And thank God for it.