My four-year-old leaned over the coffee table and examined the smooth, sleek cover of Lisa Hendey’s The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living. She pointed to the bright goldfish in the corner. “I yike him,” she said, still working on her l’s.
I look up from my work. “His name is Fiat.”
She smiled. “I yike Fiat.”
“I like him, too,” I said, marvelling at the depth of reflection in the pages over which Fiat hops.
Lisa’s book, a deep look back on a lifetime-so-far of yeses to God proved to be more difficult reading than I had anticipated. Fiat and the martini yes on the cover gave me the initial feeling that saying yes to God was one, long exhilarating leap of joy. What I had misunderstood, of course, was that the joy sometimes only comes after difficult soul-searching, lessons learned the hard way, or a series of determined yeses to work that often is unattractive and unexciting.
In The Grace of Yes, Lisa reflects upon the work of God in her life and her cooperation with His Spirit. She looks at the decisions, big and small, that led her to open her heart more fully to Him and stands in wonder at the graces He was able to work through her willingness to do His will. She, too, with extraordinary candor and humility recounts the times she felt like she got it wrong and sought herself instead of Him.
Far from being closed in on herself and her decisions, The Grace of Yes is a challenging, yet unbelievably warm and encouraging invitation to examine our own decisions, the quality of our own ongoing yes to God. Lisa’s blessings from her openness to God’s will serve as an exciting promise of what our own generosity to God can lead to.
For me in particular, by far the most challenging, relentless yes to Our Lord has come in the beautifully difficult vocation of motherhood. The determined yes that we must all give to God to keep caring for our families has required far more of me than I ever could have anticipated, and Lisa’s book has given me the gift of consolation and encouragement to keep at it, to keep saying yes to the Lord’s call for my life. And the better, and more happily, that I can do this, the better I can cooperate with Him who loves me above all else. What more could I hope for than to keep reaching for Love and watching the miracles unfold around me because of that decision made from grace?
I look at little Fiat. He now reminds me that while saying yes might not always be a joy ride, in the end it will undoubtedly be exhilarating as we ascend to our Beloved, our Almighty God, who loves us enough to keep asking us to say yes to His extraordinary plans for our life. And I like that. A lot.
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