I can still hear my siblings and I say, “Places saved,” as we left our seat and headed off to use the bathroom during the television commercial. I don’t remember either of my parents telling us that we should use this phrase for bathroom breaks…must have learned it from my older siblings. It was very frustrating the times I came back and someone had taken my prime place!

I wish that I could say that those days are gone. But it shows up when I am driving and it’s my turn to get into a particular lane and some car pulls up into that coveted spot…I want to shout out, “hey that is my spot, I did everything you are supposed to do to turn to that spot! It’s MY TURN!”

In the gospel reading for September 21st, we hear the familiar story of the owner of the vineyard paying all the workers, no matter when they came to work, the same amount of money. I can hear that unhealed kid inside of me say, “Hey it’s wrong, I cleaned the house, mowed the grass, and cleaned my room; how come she gets the same allowance as me and she hardly did anything! How come…?”

Yet, I must admit that as a chaplain I have sat at the bedside of many a patient and said to those bearing the wound of an unkind and or self-centered life, “God is gracious and all forgiving. God is waiting for you to come, now.” As I think about the gospel reading for September 21st, I meet myself in the twix and between place that lies between the all gracious and forgiving God and the little kid in me that, like the workers who have worked all day long, want it to seem fair.

However as the chaplain seeking to be a bridge between those on the literal edge of this life looking across the unknown sea to the other side, I feel a deep need to be a person of hope and forgiveness.

The first reading from Isaiah invites us to seek the Lord, where He is found. As I live into the strength of these readings I will invite the child within to seek God’s graciousness in all things. Remembering, that as I attend to the daily invitations that place me receiving full payment no matter what time I get to the graciousness of God no matter when I show up.