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Have Mercy On Me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

In the early afternoon on Sunday, I found out that my cousin died suddenly. It was quite a shock. Yesterday, Monday, around the same time of day, I found out that our former neighbor/friend who has been battling breast cancer for a while died. Both my cousin and my friend were young, not older than 40.

I received the text about our friend -- from her mother -- when Bert and I were driving to a store. When we arrived at the store I just sat in the parking lot in my car and cried. As I sat, listening to the rain pound down on my windshield and hearing the sounds of my son in the backseat, my first thought (after thinking of my friend's family, of course) was

God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 

As I sat there thinking of my friend, the only child of the mother she left behind and herself the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, I recalled the things I have complained about lately:

- The dogs shaking their fur on everything
- My bras not fitting (too big)
- My bras not fitting (too small)
- Having to get up early
- Bert whining
- My new cell phone won't fit on the wireless charger as easily as the old one

God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 

I mean really, right? Now, please don't misunderstand me. Something that really bothers me is when people respond to others' suffering or pain by saying things like "You're lucky it wasn't worse" or "There are people who have it worse than you do." Responding like this when someone is sharing his or her heart with you only shuts them down and shames them. In fact, I read an article about this very thing the other day, and I couldn't agree more. Suffering is not a contest of who has it worse. 

But guys, look at my list. I wasn't complaining about things that are of any consequence whatsoever. I am getting ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY IRRITATED because some of my nursing bras are now too large. (Oh, and I actually have ones that fit fine, I just have more that don't fit, so clearly a valid complaint.)

It seems that there has been so much sadness lately, specifically with untimely deaths. This type of tragedy has hit everyone from celebrities such as Kobe Bryant to a 50-something father at Fatima in West Virginia to my cousin and my friend. After each death, Joe and I would just look at each other and say, "You never know." And you don't. I think many people say this sort of thing after hearing about a tragedy, but I am ashamed to say that I think like that for about 30 minutes and then go back to failing to appreciate my husband, son, etc. because, you know, my bras don't fit and I have one more dirty pan than will fit in the dishwasher.

One very ironic thing in my behavior that I've noticed recently is that I will think back to a period of my life or an event that took place in the past and think, "I wish I would have enjoyed that more at the time" or "I wish I could go back there and experience that again." And I think these things WHILE FAILING TO ENJOY EXACTLY WHERE I AM. My son is over 6 months old now. He wears 9-12 month clothes, has two teeth, eats solid food, and is about to sit up on his own. We just packed away some of his things that have been staples since the beginning (like his Boppy Lounger), and it makes me so sad to see these things go because they have been such a big part of our lives. But do you think I loved looking at Bert on that dang thing every day? No I did not. A lot of the time I was probably just wishing he'd stop crying. Will I ever learn?

Today there are two mothers and two fathers who are grieving the loss of their children. There are two daughters and one son grieving the loss of their parents. If I allow myself to put myself in their places for longer than a moment, I will shut down entirely, as I cannot fathom how they must be feeling.

God, please give me the grace and wisdom that I need to appreciate my life: the big things and the little things, the wonderful things and the petty annoyances. Give me the gratitude I need to enjoy every moment and the understanding I need that it could be taken away at any moment. Open my eyes so that I see myself and others the way that you do. Bolster me with the perseverance to always say and do what is right. Bless my words so that they can be used to lift others up and not bring them pain, embarrassment, or stress. Allow me to feel that each day is a gift from you so that I may live life the way You intended: with joy and peace, loving You and loving all of Your children the way you do. 




"I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I"
- Hillsong UNITED

"I was held in Your arms
Carried for a thousand miles to show
Not for a moment did You forsake me"
- Meredith Andrews


May Chris's and Mona's souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. 

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