April was an older woman who attended a Bible study at one of Union Rescue Mission’s off-site houses. This particular house was used for a program for young men ages 18 -25. The Bible study was held weekly and a few people from the community attended including April.
April was totally blind. She had been accidentally blinded by a damaging prescription many years before. Yet she was not bitter at all. She had worked hard to forgive all involved in her blinding and had made a very good life for herself. Everyone, including me, found in her the Grandma we wished we had had.
April’s Granddaughter was a pre-teen named Kelly who had developed a bad habit of using very foul language. Kelly’s mother had tried everything to help her daughter to talk more genteelly. Finally, in desperation, the mom sent Kelly to her live with April for a few weeks, hoping that would help.
April and Kelly were very close. Kelly would not use the unacceptable language in front of her Grandma.
One night, after dinner, April asked Kelly to sit with her. She took a pencil and a piece of paper out of her apron. She asked Kelly to write down all the bad words she liked to use. Nervously, Kelly wrote the words down.
Of course, April could not read the list since she was blind, so she asked Kelly to read it to her. Kelly was dumbstruck. She said, “Grandma, I just can’t say these words in front of you.”
April said, “Would you read the first letter of each word?” Kelly agreed to read the letters, but even that was hard for her to do.
As Kelly read the letters, she began to cry. When she finished, she sat there a moment waiting to see what April would do. A minute passed.
My guess is that April was taking a minute to pray and center herself. Then she took a twenty dollar bill out of her apron. She said, “Kelly, would you sell me those words?” and handed her the twenty dollars.
Kelly took the money. Then April said, “Darling, now those words are mine. I own them. I will not let you use my words.” Kelly fell into her Grandma’s arms crying.
I never heard the end of the story. I don’t know if Kelly cleaned up her language once she got home. I do know this: April behaved with God-like grace. In so doing, she taught me as poignant a lesson in grace as I have ever learned.