Thursday, June 2, 2011

tender mercies

One year ago today, I filed for divorce. Yeah, I know I've been tiptoeing around this subject, but there it is, out in the blogosphere. One year ago, I decided that thirty years was quite enough. In the year that has passed since then, I often think of the tender mercies that I was blessed with during those very tough months leading up to the final bang--the I am done; I'm not taking any more of this--and in the year since as I have adjusted to a new life.

For months, no really years, I knew that this was coming. But how does one prepare for such a thing? How does one strengthen one's heart to deal with heartache of this magnitude? Well, one doesn't. But instead, tender mercies arrived on the scene, just when I needed them.

A trusted couple. When I began this journey toward what I knew was going to culminate in divorce, I knew I needed help. This was certainly uncharted territory for me, and I needed someone to back me up, point me in the right direction, help me think straight. I went to some friends, a happily married couple that I knew I could trust to keep in confidence what I would tell them. I knew I could trust them to help me find my way. I knew they cared about me, and having them in my life at that time was comforting. A trusted couple, my tender mercy. 

Miley. Miley is a tender mercy. Miley came into my life almost three years ago. One of my daughters was experiencing heartache herself at the time, and I, along with her older sister, decided that she needed a dog in her life. Enter Miley. I fully intended to give her this sweet little dog, but within a month of having her in my home while waiting for the right opportunity to give her to my daughter, she became mine. She chose me as her mommy. If you could see this little pup look at me, sometimes you would swear that you were seeing adoration in her eyes. During those horrible months while I knew so much, said so little, and acted so well, I had Miley for comfort. When no one was around, sometimes I would collapse on my bedroom floor in a ball, where I would sob uncontrollably. Miley always came and found me in those troubled moments. She curled up beside me, concern in her eyes. "I'm sorry, Mommy. I don't know what's wrong, but I love you." I'm sure that's what she was thinking. Miley, my tender mercy.

A sweet friend. One day at church, a friend of mine looked at me, and before she could even think about what she was saying, she said, "You don't look so good. Something's happening. Are you okay?" Well, my acting was pretty flawless to everyone else, but not to this very good friend. She could read it in my face despite the fake smile, the fake happy facade that I had so well crafted. I poured it out to her, and for the next several months, I ran to her open arms in sobs many times. She was always there for me. Many times she stayed up late listening to me and probably went to work dog tired the next day, but she was a real friend. She listened. She comforted. She counseled. She loved. My sweet friend, my tender mercy.

A caring teacher. After I informed my children of the situation, my youngest and only daughter still living at home went running to a very special teacher. I somehow knew that she was going to do this, and I alerted this sweet teacher ahead of time that trouble was likely headed to her understanding and caring arms. This teacher and friend listened to my daughter, comforted her and cared for her. She loved my baby when my baby needed her most. A caring teacher, my tender mercy.

A couple of good school friends. There are a couple of girls at school who have become good friends to me. They listen to me whine and complain, and they give me wise counsel. They may be about half my age, but they seem to be twice as wise.  A couple of good school friends, my tender mercy.

A kind neighbor. Neighbors are a dime a dozen, right? Well, I have a neighbor whose price cannot be named. He has made it his business to be in my business. Now that might sound annoying, but I assure you it is nothing of the kind. He cares about my daughter and me, our safety and happiness. No one has assigned him to take care of us, and no one is paying him to watch over us. He quite simply is a genuine good human being who cares. He notes our comings and goings. He reprimands the neighbor boys when they trespass into my yard and heckle my dogs. He comes over and fertilizes my lawn. He services my lawnmower. He taught me how to take care of the yard. I don't have an edger, so periodically, he just shows up, edger in hand, and makes the ugly ragged edges nice and neat. Upon changing the timing of the clock that waters the lawn, he found it to be nearly broken, so he did some searching and found me a new one at a good price. If that wasn't already enough, he installed the clock. He spent many hours in my garage and my yard properly installing it, and then he apologized! He apologized for being in my way and being so slow! He comes over, unrolls the hose, and waters the dry spots. Periodically, he comes back and moves it around. Then he apologizes to me for letting it get that way! One day, he saw me out walking Miley at night. A couple of days later, he showed up at my door with pepper spray. "You put that in your pocket when you walk." A kind neighbor, my tender mercy.

My babies. They will always be my babies. It doesn't matter how old, how educated, how wise, or how dignified they become. They are from the start, and always will be, my babies. And they are my tenderest and most cherished tender mercy. Now that they are all grown, our roles frequently switch. They have all become my mothers. I'm really lucky to have four such devoted and wonderful mothers. They watch out for me, they advise me, they teach me, they support me, they protect me, and they love me. They are all there for me. They are my best friends of all in the whole world. I believe that we all come down here with personalized "packages," our own packages of talents, strengths, weaknesses, faults, and trials. I also can't help but believe that God took a look at my package before sending me down to this proving ground, and he said, "Enough is enough. Line up the angels, and send her the best four we've got." They are the angels of my life, the joy of my life, the most amazing and wonderful people in the world. My babies, my tender mercy.

My life hasn't turned out exactly the way I planned it, the way I carefully designed it. But life is good. I count my tender mercies, and I smile. Yes, life is indeed good.


Shauntel said...

Dang you. I already have my makeup on!

This is beautiful. I'm so glad you wrote it down.

danielle said...

i was at work when i read it . . .

Kristen said...

I was at work too. Not the right place! lol. Miley really does have facial expressions of adoration.

~ Josh said...

Well what do you know!!! I was also at work! Geez!