"Grace" is one of those Christian buzz words. It has about 20 dictionary definitions. The one that happened to me yesterday was number three: favor or goodwill. Saturday was sunny and above 50 degrees. After finishing my morning group run with Jonas in the Chariot at the Air Force Academy, I was not yet ready to retreat indoors for the day. I got overzealous and decided to run Barr Trail. The Chariot is too big to push up Barr Trail, so I tied Jonas as tight as possible onto my back with my Mei Tai. I ran up 45 minutes then turned to walk down. I hadn't anticipated the treachery of the snowy descent. It was no bueno. On the way down a particularly icy section I was stopped by a couple who undoubtedly thought I was the worst mom in the world; either that or the dumbest. But they didn't stop me to lecture me or to call CPS on me. They stopped to offer me the woman's Yaktrax. I declined several times but they insisted. Already embarrassed to be caught in a moment of supreme senselessness, I finally accepted the kind gesture. I might be an idiot, hiking icy trails with a 7 month old baby on my back, but I'm not an evil idiot. If these Yaktrax were going to save my child's life, than I was a fool not to take them.
We arranged for a spot to leave them at the trail head and I said many thank-yous. The man lent me his arm to steady myself as I stretched the Yaktrax over my running shoes. Then I took off down the trail. I had been hiking less than a minute when the man caught up to me and said "You know what, why don't you just keep those, we'll get new ones, it's not a problem" Again I tried to argue but again he insisted. Those Yaktrax really did save our lives on the way down. I don't know how I would have handled it without them. Hiking down Barr Trail in the snow is hard enough without a baby on your back, throwing off your center of gravity so I don't know what made me think I could do it initially.
So grateful was I to those people that I smiled all the way down the trail. I felt like the Grinch at the end of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" when his heart swells out of his chest. Sometimes people surprise me with their goodness. Their Grace. Just when I start thinking the world is a terrible place full of violence, poverty and apathy , people like them show up to donate Yaktrax to an ill-equipped young mother on an icy trail and restore my faith in humanity. The world is still a terrible place, but Good exists.