I received a generous and surprising gift this week. As I opened the box and unwrapped its contents, I was filled with delight, excitement, gratitude…and nervous discomfort. It’s not always easy to be on the receiving end of generosity, and in this case, staying with it felt like an act of sustained spiritual concentration.
This is what I know: living a meaningful, grounded life requires being available for the unexpected, the abundant, the generous, and the grace-filled, but actually living this way often feels like an uncomfortable challenge, in part because of the systems we live in.
Free generosity violates its rules and logic. In it, everything has a price tag and our worth (and very survival) is tied to our labor and reduced to our productive output – our existence spins around monetary exchange; resources and power are distributed inequitably; and our intrinsic worth is not an inherent given.
So when I received my gift this week, I immediately asked myself: what have I done to deserve this? Nothing, of course, and that made me nervous.
It has me thinking: how much goodness am I tempted to shut out because I’m afraid (subconsciously, probably) that it will reveal my innate unworthiness? How many gifts do I reject (from loved ones, strangers, or life itself) because I’m afraid I’ll be found out as “not enough?”
All of this goes deep, and it seems the first thing has to be finding a way to agency, freedom, and enoughness. This is what creates space for goodness, grace, and beauty to pass through – those things that already belong to all of us: the gifts that surprise us, defy convention, and maybe even challenge but we thought we knew about the world and ourselves. There will be voices that say you don’t deserve these gifts, that they’re not meant for you. Unwrap and enjoy them anyway.