Step 6: Look for miracles and tender mercies in your life, they will be there, and be grateful for them.
“David Bednar said, “…Tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving kindnesses, consolation, [and] support…which we receive.”
I received many tender mercies at a time when I seemed to have not much else.
For example, and as I’ve mentioned before, when people asked if I needed anything, I told them we were fine. And we were “fine.” We lived as scant an existence as possible and although we had food to eat, it was very basic food—NO extras of “fun” food. And then one day, a friend showed up with an entire carload of “fun” food from Costco: Mickey Mouse-shaped chicken nuggets, Oreos, chips, doughnuts, fruit snacks, crackers, juice, fresh fruit, all the fun “extras” when you’re eating and living as inexpensively as possible. My children were overjoyed! It was like Christmas to them (and they still talk about that delivery to this day.)
But the tender mercies didn’t end with Colorado.
I moved to Utah and began a new life feeling very much a failure. I didn’t think things could get any worse until they did—when I made the fateful error of heading to the grocery store on a Saturday night. I didn’t have anything else to do, I didn’t know anyone, I had to feed my kids, there was a big sale at a neighborhood grocery store, so off I went. I was convinced I was the only “loser” who grocery shopped on a Saturday night!
Every shopping cart that night appeared to be pushed by a happy, in love, couple with plenty of money to pay for their purchases. I had none of that anymore and had never felt so alone or worthless. When my shopping was done and just when I thought I couldn’t feel any lower, a car drove by me in the parking lot and the driver ridiculed my purchases through his open window. Those thoughtless words uttered by one man devastated me!
In the dark, tears welling in my eyes and feeling SO ALONE and appalled that apparently I couldn’t even purchase food for my children without being persecuted and wondering how I was going to endure the next 40-50 years of my new life, I unlocked by mar, turned to unload my cart, and was stunned to see a man standing there in the darkness. He had come from out of nowhere and without a word, grabbed the purchases from my cart and unloaded them into the back of my car.
When he was done, he paused for a moment, looked into my eyes, and smiled at me—a smile of compassion, and although it was dark, I noticed that his eyes were light blue, his skin was tan, his teeth were white and his hair was dark but slightly graying. And then without a word, he got into an older, dark-colored Suburban I suddenly noticed was parked next to me, and drove away.
I got in my car, completely changed, thanks to that anonymous man, whoever he was, and his kind service to me. For a brief moment I hadn’t been alone, a man had been kind to me (which I really needed at that stage of my life!) and for a moment I felt like everything was going to be ok.
I don’t believe anyone makes it through this life without problems and challenges and sometimes, tragedies and misfortunes. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will see the miracles and tender mercies that are ours and will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” (Henry David Thoreau)