What does it mean to live generously? That is the question at the heart of Lisa Hendey’s new book, The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living (Ave Maria Press, 2014). Hendey, founder of CatholicMom.com and well-known speaker, offers readers an intimate look at her own struggles as she attempts to follow God’s will and say “Yes” to all He asks.
In her early fifties, Hendey is in the newly empty-nest stage of life. She is able to look back over the years of her life, marriage, parenting journey, and career to see how God has led her to where she is today. One of the beautiful gifts of aging is that of hindsight, to be able to see God at work in one’s life over the course of a matter of decades.
While most of us will not end up nationally known speakers, many women can relate to Hendey’s struggles in her marriage, her efforts to redefine herself after becoming a stay-at-home mom, her challenges in choosing what good opportunities she needs to say “no” to, her vulnerability in facing illness and aging, and the ongoing effort to be humble.
The eight virtues highlighted are belief, generativity, creativity, integrity, humility, vulnerability, saying no, and rebirth. The chapter that spoke the most to be was the one on creativity, the work we co-create with God. She reminds us that “our work has an inherent dignity” and that “our work is of God, by God, and undertaken for our God.”
Instead of falling prey to comparing our outcomes (guilty as charged!), she encourages us to “perfect how we go about our work . . . In their own way, those ‘I’d rather not do this’ tasks – performed with respect and dignity- can become our most fruitful yeses.”
Hendey has much wisdom to offer on all of these virtues, and one can only appreciate her honesty and willingness to share the messiness of her own life in order to encourage others. The Grace of Yes is an excellent book that will give you much to ponder.