A great goal in parenting is teaching our kids about life and love: how to live good lives and how to love. In spite of our best efforts – our greatest lectures and bedtime stories, and the examples of our own actions good and bad, our children must travel their own unique journeys in life and love.
I don’t want to damper their dreams or ideals while I prepare them for the realities of life. The world is not perfect but we can still be happy. None of us is perfect but each of us is worthy of love.
People talk about finding happiness and imagining it as a place where everything is perfect. They dream also of the perfect partner and falling in love. In the living of life, we will discover that it is seldom perfect and if it ever is, it won’t stay that way. Each of us is imperfect, we all make mistakes, and everyone will disappoint us sooner or later. We will disappoint ourselves.
But we can still be happy in an imperfect world, and we can still love one another imperfect as we are.
The key is in grace, and grace can be manifested in two ways: in attitude and in action.
GRACE IN ATTITUDE How you see your world, other people and your self filters your vision, shades your feelings and shapes your actions. If you think of yourself as entitled, you will be continually disappointed. If you see yourself as a victim, you will feel angry and defeated.
If you look to what you want and don’t have, you will feel incomplete and wanting, but if you count the good you’ve been given, you will feel blessed and content. If you are not feeling happy today, take a break from what you are doing.
For a moment, put out of your mind your preoccupations, the injustice and the bad breaks in your life. Make a list of the good given to you in life so far – not just what you have this day but what you’ve received in the past through luck or the grace of others. Think most of the things done for you and given to you that you cannot pay back.
If you still struggle to appreciate the good in your life, seek out a friend with a positive attitude not tainted with cynicism. The negative words of friends can cast shadows on our own vision while our positive friends can shine greater light on our circumstances and illuminate our lives.
We can express grace in seeing our lives as they are – and accepting the conditions we cannot change. We can express grace in our relationships by accepting the people we love just as they are, not seeking to change them and forgiving them when they disappoint us.
Next Post: Grace in Action
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a physician and writer. His Positive Potential Medicine radio show is at pwrnradio.com.