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