“It’s all good.”I remember when that phrase became popular several years ago. What a deception, I would think to myself, when I heard someone say it. Certainly, there are many things in life that are not good. I thought the phrase was an attempt to blur the line between good and bad … a casual manifestation of denial, perhaps.Today, I came across a prayer card that turned that thinking upside down. My mother had given it to me after my third son was born. I had endured a trying pregnancy that required four months of strict bed-rest (this while trying to mother my two other boys!). The card, featuring a photo of St. Therese of Lisieux, reads:Everything is a grace. Everything is the direct effect of our Father’s love: difficulties, contradictions, humiliations, all the soul’s miseries, burdens, needs. Everything, because through them, she learns humility, realizes her weakness. Everything is a grace because everything is God’s gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events — to the heart that loves, all is well.I put that card on my son’s picture board in his nursery. Through the hard, early months of his life, I read it often. However, I must admit that I could not grasp it, though I desperately wanted to believe it.Five and a half years later, as I reflected on one of the most difficult years of my life, I pulled the card from the board and dared to read it again. In a small way, I believe I finally understand what St. Therese was getting at. Grace, as she presents it, isn’t always pleasant; rather, it is often quite painful. It is simply the opportunity to deepen our understanding of God — and of ourselves, and each other — resulting in a new closeness.Difficult times do that. Death, illness, loss, tragedy, all of which I have experienced in the last year, reduce us to our simplest form, our essence. Through them, as St. Therese says, we realize our weakness. We realize how much we need each other and God. And, isn’t that where love awaits?It is a joyful discovery to be awakened from the delusion of self-sufficiency and independence that besets each of us. What a grace it is to suffer and see who we really are and what we really need: love!So, I concur. It is all good. It certainly doesn’t always seem good, nor feel good. But all experiences ultimately can cultivate goodness if we open ourselves to the hidden beauty within them.“… to the heart that loves, all is well.”Christa Chavez is the external affairs coordinator for St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/1019/christa/{/gallery}