I left the office early one day last week to attend an honors band concert for Paige at St Cloud State University. As I bolted out the door, I heard a coworker call, “Have a good night, Supermom.” My excitement over hearing what this talented group of young musicians from across the state would put together under the leadership of a renowned conductor washed away all thoughts of my hectic work day.
Bumper to bumper traffic on 94W had me arriving a little later than planned, but I wasn't too concerned given my track record for being '10 minutes late.' Unfortunately, my iPhone chose this particular evening to stage a mutiny (likely over my refusal to download the latest software version), and took me to the wrong location. After stopping 3 times to ask groups of students where the hell Stewart Hall was, I finally found my destination, paid for parking, and hit the ground running. My '10 minutes late' had now advanced to 20, and full blown panic was setting in.
I entered the campus building in a flurry, and saw doors marked 'left stage,' 'center stage,' and 'right stage.' I approached center stage, pulled the handle, and was greeted by a locked door. A white piece of paper hanging on the door read, 'Doors locked during performances.' In my pursuit to find another way in, I came across an aged man in the hallway. I asked him if he knew of any other way to get into the Stewart Hall auditorium, and he said, "You know this isn't Stewart Hall, right? It's a couple buildings that way." Without hesitation, I took off in the direction his finger pointed while shouting a curt "thank you" over my shoulder.
I charged like a thoroughbred out of the gates into Stewart Hall, and prayed the concert would somehow be delayed. I scribbled out a check at the box office (since I had forgotten cash, of course), and found a seat in the last row of the auditorium. I frantically searched for Paige's head amidst the sea of students, but before I could spot her, the concert E-N-D-E-D. I had missed an incredibly special moment in Paige's life thanks to my proclivity for doing 'just one more thing' before heading out the door. I was devastated. Supermom, my ass. I was a working mom who had failed one of her children...again. My list of shortcomings from the past week convicted me: forgot orthodontist appointment - check, late picking child up from school - check, ate out too many meals - check, missed honors band concert - check. Oh, the shame.
As I looked up with humiliation and tears in my eyes, I saw the junior and senior high students take their seats on stage. My gaze fell upon a blond head of hair glistening from the spot light above. In complete disbelief, I realized that head belonged to my Paige! Apparently she had been asked to play with the juniors and seniors instead of her own classmates. As I enjoyed each and every note played, I felt the power of grace wash over me - maybe for the first time in my life.
I did not deserve the gift of hearing Paige play that night. After all, I had not left work early enough or stopped in advance to get cash or gathered adequate information on directions and parking. In spite of my foolhardiness, God chose to bless me in an unspeakable way. His forgiveness somehow made it OK for me to forgive myself, and left me feeling motivated to do better next time around. Thank you for loving me in my abject brokenness, God.