Life is not a lesson to be learned but a gift to be unwrapped
Life is not a lesson to be learned but a gift to be unwrapped layer upon layer trusting there are hidden jewels waiting to be discovered.
I don’t believe things happen in life that we might learn some cosmic lesson as if life is a classroom and the Divine is a cosmic teacher ruler in hand testing us. Tests make me anxious. I hate the feeling of not knowing or, worse, being wrong. There’s not much grace in that.
Grace is not something you achieve like earning a good grade. Grace can only be noticed and taken into your arms like a mother takes her newborn into her arms with wide-eyed amazement. There’s no way to earn grace, deserve it or bring it about any more than you can bring about the dazzling beauty of a sunset or deserve the tender mercy of being forgiven.
I don’t believe in lessons. I do trust that every morning, regardless how terrible the previous day had been, is a new invitation to find beautiful things in the dark. That is grace. Terrible things happen. The word terrible has many meanings. Terrible can mean powerful. Crises can be strangely beautiful in the way it shakes things up until you are holding on to only what matters most. The rest falls away. You awaken to the raw truth “With life as short as a half taken breath, don’t plant anything but Love.” That is grace.
In this world that measures who we are by what we have and what we do, whether we win or lose, it is absurd to hear we are saved by grace. There’s nothing you have to do, no test to be taken or lesson to be learned.
Frederick Buechner said the grace of God is something like this: “Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”
We live in a world dripping with grace. Noticing and letting yourself be drenched in grace, especially when life is terrible, may be the most beautiful grace of all.