Steve Charleston “In every life there are these small spaces of grace, the tiny reminders that life not only goes on, but goes well. No matter what grand dramas we may inhabit, there is always room for the glimmers of heaven to shine through and delight us. A favorite dessert, a song on the radio, a morning that begins in quiet perfection. Rejoice that time is sprinkled with such simple surprise, the wild flowers of our faith.”
“How can you say life is good?” demands a youth with a slash on his face. “There is nothing good about being jumped by a gang.”
A Native young adult answers. “To accept whatever happens as an opportunity and not as bad or good is the hardest lesson I had to learn when I turned eighteen. I put in applications at every motel, fast food place and gas station in town. They all said they weren’t hiring. I don’t know why but every time I was turned down it just made me work harder at going to the next place. Something happened to me during my search. I felt good about not giving up.”
“Well, nothing good is going to come out of my being beaten up,” the teen says belligerently.
“It’s not about something nice happening after the event,” I say. “And it’s not about trying to find something good in the midst of something terrible happening. I believe that whatever is given is neutral, neither dreadful nor beneficial. It’s our attitude, our stance toward what happens that matter. If we assume that the situation is appalling, it will be. If we assume that there is beauty and goodness, we stay open to possibilities.”
I don’t know how else to say it. If your basic stance is that life is good, you embrace what happens and all sorts of doors open for you. If you see yourself as a victim and hapless in your circumstances, then life becomes miserable in your eyes.
Bishop Charleston reminds us that there are these small spaces of grace, the tiny reminders that life not only goes on, but goes well. If we approach life as ill fated, we succumb to closing our hearts to these spaces of grace.
May we all embrace the given as good and open up our deepest selves to walking in beauty.