There was a lot of blood.
I fought back the tears as my brother helped me hobble inside. I knew I shouldn’t be playing on the folding chair that way, but I am not one to so quickly turn away from fun. And a little childlike rebellion.
“Kids, stop playing on those and when you get hurt, don’t come crying to me,” my dad hollered to us.
It’s funny how I didn’t care enough about obedience to stop playing, but decided to mind my father at the words, “Don’t come crying to me.”
Waiting for my mom to come home, I hid in the bathroom for what seemed like hours, balled up on the cool tile floor— pink tile like any good home built in the 50s. Chris helped me clean up the wound as best as two young kids could and we waited.
I couldn’t let him find me. I didn’t want my dad to know I hurt myself doing the very thing he warned me not to do.
When Mom finally came home, I lost all composure and collapsed into her arms. Between sniffles, I explained to her why I had an absurd amount of toilet paper and band-aids stuck to my right knee.
“Why didn’t you tell your dad you were bleeding?”
“He said not to.”
“He said what?!”
“He told us not to come crying to him when we got hurt. So I didn’t.”
I still have a giant scar on my knee from that backyard incident and this story is still at the top of the list of my family’s favorites about me.
But this scar reminds me of something all-too-familiar in my life today: I am caught in a battle between performance and grace.
I want to do the right thing. I do for a while. I inevitably fail. I am my toughest critic, lending little to no grace for myself.
A life motivated by performance is a life lived in fear. Fear of messing up, failing, disappointing. This is how I’ve lived most of my life whether I’d like to admit it or not.
A life motivated by performance is an effort to earn salvation, which is impossible, yet sometimes the thought of accepting all the grace that God has seems just as unlikely for me.
It’s a simple analogy, but a message I’ve long overlooked. I cut my knee. Because of my disobedience I hid from my father, the only one who could help me.
That day my dad didn’t scold me for my defiance, he held me close and made me promise never to hide my wounds from him again.
And I’m certain my heavenly father is doing the exact same.