"When we are sure we can't get through another minute and we do, that is the grace of a Creator life in us.
     When we are sure we can't find the light and we do, that is the grace of the Light of the World in us.
     When we are sure that we can't take one more breath and we do, that is the grace of the Spirit breathing through us.

"Our hearts are hewn by light. The unconditional yes helps our heart let its light through. Graces are those special gifts that break through the limits of mind, will, and heart. Grace expands our intellect by endowing us with intuitive wisdom. We suddenly become inspired by something we did not find through logic. Grace expands our will by giving us a strength or courage we did not have before. Grace expands our hearts by making it possible to love rather than hate, to reconcile rather than to retaliate, to show humility rather than hubris. We could not do all that on our own; our self-centered ego would find no motivation for such virtue. Grace is the inner ally and guide, the motivating force of our spiritual practice.

"As givens become graces, an unconditional thanks stands beside our unconditional yes. When we accept the good with the bad, the easy with the difficult, gratitude arises automatically. Hamlet said to Horatio:

"Thou hast been as one...that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast taken with equal thanks.

"Each given of life comes to us trailing many graces. The fact that things change and end means that we may find in impermanence the grace of flowing with life. Health, both psychologically and spiritually, means going with the flow of events, rather than being stopped or devastated by them. The fact that things do not always go according to plan means that many powers beyond ego are at work in our lives — powers that lead us to our destiny by a path we might have neglected. Once we understand that we are supported by powers beyond our ego, we see that having to be in control may not be in our best interest: we might upset mighty plans that are afoot on our behalf.

"The fact that life is not always fair even though we know instinctively what would be fair means that we are all called to create the conditions of justice in the world. When we say yes to such a call, we find our courage. Then we find ways of balancing ourselves and assisting the world in balancing itself.

"The fact that pain is part of life yields the graces of endurance, patience, and compassion. We are affected by others' pain and less likely to be sources of pain to others.

"The fact that others are not always loyal or loving inflicts the wounds that make us people of depth and character. Perhaps such wounds are graces since the holes in us can be openings to wholeness. And, most of all, we are thereby challenged to show an unconditional love.

"Grace is not soporific; it arrives bugle-in-hand. Each grace is a reveille to rouse our effort. . . . Graces are offered to us in the form of the givens. In addition, if we have the courage to face life's unavoidable truths, we will find the grace to love no matter what happens to us. Love is always unconditional in the sense that it is not stymied or stifled by any of the conditions of existence. Neither changes, endings, altered plans, unfairness, suffering, disloyalty, or lack of love can stop us from loving. Our yes to such a stunning grace is what our ego always wants to say, since it means the end of being afraid and the beginning of being free."