Freedom, joy and generosity grow in us when we see ourselves in the true light of God’s abundant grace—when we allow God’s own generosity to heal our eyes so that we may see that there is more than enough, especially more than enough love, for all of us.
Our standing with God and our place in the world do not depend on anything we have achieved or failed to achieve. The God who made us loves us as we are. We don’t need what God has given to someone else in order to be wonderfully and joyfully alive. God does not wish we were someone else. God wants us to be completely our truest selves, and God is giving us everything we need to live the lives God is calling us to live.
Poet W. H. Auden said, “Choice of attention—to pay attention to this and ignore that—is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer." We don’t have many choices about what happens to us and around us, but we have more choices that we realize about how we see and respond to what happens.
We can, for instance, place our pain and suffering, our disappointment and heartbreak, in the very center of our vision. We can view the world through the dim and fading light of our confusion and struggle. We can allow our hard experience to shroud the wonders, mysteries, and beauties of the world and to veil our view of God’s greatness, glory, and generosity. If we do, our lives, which are already challenging, will shrink, grow bitter, become brittle, and shut-down. Then, nothing healing and saving can get in, and nothing gladdening and enriching can flow out.
Or, we can choose to see our limits and losses against the backdrop of the luminous love, glowing grace, and abundant mercy of God made known, real, and near in the person and presence of Jesus. If we do, our lives, though they are troubled, will expand, grow grateful, become vulnerable, and open-up. Then, the light of new creation will shine in our chaos, God will shape restored hope from dust and ashes, and we will discover again the joy of receiving and giving, giving and receiving, enduring love.