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An Undeserved Gift

This story was told by writer/author David Brooks

About ten years ago I was driving home from work and it was a summer evening around 7 o’clock. I pulled over to my house in Bethesda and we had a driveway that went around the side, and I pull in and I can see the backyard.

My kids were then 12, nine and five and had gotten ahold of a ball, one of those cheap brown balls, and they were kicking it up in the air and they were chasing it across the yard and they were laughing and giggling and the ball was arcing through the air and the sun was coming down through the trees and the grass that was strangely green for my yard.

And so I pulled into the driveway and rolled up after a day of work and an unexpected beautiful sight and I just stared at them through the windshield for a few minutes. And it was one of those moments when life and time are suspended and when reality spills outside its bounds and you just get a sense of feeling of overwhelm regret. What did I do to deserve this? And you feel subsumed by a beauty that you haven’t earned. And that sense of getting subsumed by beauty you have not earned creates a strange desire, a strange stirring. The normal ground of everyday life gives you a glimpse of a higher joy than you ever get and then it exposes something deep inside of you and you want to be worthy of what you have been given.

And so we all know the word for that undeserved gift. You can get it around different people. I had it that moment looking at my kids.