Things happen. Things both in and outside of our control. In both cases, we sometimes receive that refreshing possibility to reclaim what we’ve missed out on.
When we were getting ready to head northeast to hold and attend my mom’s funeral–a 22-hour driving trip each way–my husband arranged for us to stay at a hotel where my mom and I had stopped on many road trips: Little America in Wyoming. It was such a thoughtful gesture and it brought comfort to me that eased the burden of my sadness and the trip. But then I wasn’t ready to leave when we planned. And then there was a snowstorm. So we had to call and cancel the reservation and stay any-old-place. It was a little thing, but I felt very disappointed not to be able to claim that sweet comfort my husband had arranged for me. I let it go–sort of. There were many other things to think about anyway.
Well, we made it to the funeral and had a special time, so that was the main thing. It turns out, though, Little America is a chain. On the way back we took a different route, but we happened to need gas and have the chance to stop at a different Little America in Cheyenne. We got gas and ice cream cones. I was able to say to the kids, “This is Little America. I have memories of stopping at another of their locations with your grandma.” It wasn’t quite the same, but it accomplished the purpose and brought some comfort. It was a tender mercy.
In some respects, every new day is an opportunity regained. Every sunrise marks my chance as a mother to say, “Okay, I’ll try again.” It is another chance to be patient, another chance to be dedicated & diligent & loving. And I need all those chances!
Why is mercy possible? Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ that allows second chances. What does it mean for us and our parenting? Everything. Not only do we obtain mercy, allowing hope and a fresh start after we’ve realized our mistakes and repented of them, but we can also grant inspired mercy to our children. I say “inspired mercy” because justice also teaches. Erasing all consequences by always granting second chances would rob our children of important lessons–so we must be wise (drawing on God’s wisdom) to know when second chances are appropriate. The scriptures say, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
Are there times when you have been afforded the tender mercy of an opportunity regained?