Receiving Life as a Gift

close up of dandelion with blown off seed
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It sounds like such a simple statement: “Life is a gift.” 

But most of us live as though life is something we’ve worked hard for, something we’ve earned. 

I think of my days as “mine,” as if time belonged to me. And so, when my son has a stomachache and stays home from school, when my daughter’s school goes remote for ten days due to Covid, when there is another snow day or early dismissal—I feel as though my time has been stolen. 

I live my relationships as if they are transactions, where I take what I am owed and I offer what you are owed. I drive your kid to ballet. You drive mine. I invite you over for dinner (you know, back in the days where this was a thing). You invite me over for dinner. 

And all of this leads me to experience life as a matter of buying and selling “my” time, attention, resources. Instead of experiencing life as a matter of giving and receiving. This mindset leads me to live as if love will run out, grace will run dry, and hope will fall short. 

Receiving Life as a Gift

But if I believe that God is love, and I begin to live into that reality, then hope is eternal, grace is a never-ending stream, and love is abundant. I get to give freely. I get to receive freely. 

We get to receive our lives as gifts.

As Stanley Hauerwas says in Living Gently in a Violent World, “We don’t get to make our lives up. We get to receive our lives as gifts.”

Stanley Hauerwas quote receiving life as a gift

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