Tender Mercy #14: A significant personal interaction

Many people have made a difference for me–inspired me or taught me significant lessons. I have held onto certain conversations, certain observations for years and years, often without the other person ever knowing what a help or example they have been.

I remember several years ago when I received a piece of needed advice from my good friend Sharon. She is witty and wise and old enough to be my grandmother. I called her one day as an overburdened caregiver about to give out. In addition to caring for my own children, I was taking care of my elderly mother who needed total assistance. On this particular day, my mom (out of desperateness and confusion I assume) had pulled my hair and pinched me as I tried to do her routine turning and changing. I felt so hurt and angry, but at the same time felt angry with myself for taking it so personally. I cried to Sharon over the phone and she told me something I’ll never forget. She said, “Mary, why are you being so hard on yourself? Saints and heroes become such not because of how they feel, but because of what they DO!”

Of course I wanted to feel consistently loving and positive while I cared for my mom–I usually succeeded in this–but Sharon helped me see that even in my lapses, I could rise up to care for my mother anyway. These were not moments of personal failure, but moments of triumph and nobility. Yes, it was important to acknowledge my feelings and arrange rest and help as I could, but I didn’t need my judgment of my feelings to add to my burden. That phone call blessed me in the moment and continues to strengthen me when difficulties arise.

When has a specific personal interaction been a strength or inspiration to you–a “tender mercy”?

When have you been an inspiration to someone else? (Many of these instances you may not even know!)

Related quotes:

 "God does watch over us and does notice us, but it is usually through someone else
 that he meets our needs." --Spencer W. Kimball

"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." --Alma 37:6

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. . . . It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. ( It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye). — The Little Prince by Saint Exupery

# 14 of a 15-part series: The Tender Mercies Project (click HERE for the introductory post)

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