25 February 2010

Small and Simple Tender Mercies

During the last several months since I last posted, I've experienced some tremendous, overwhelming emotional and spiritual struggles--overwhelming to the point that I, a normally happy and social person, have withdrawn from life in order to survive. I'm not feeling like myself these days, and that is extremely frustrating to me! Most of my days are spent in what I call Project Mode, "going through the motions" of life and feeling as little as humanly possible. The only objective I have these days is to survive.

The implications of this prolonged Project Mode are multi-faceted, and I won't explore all of them in this post; I'll save the discussion for a later post. What I wanted to focus on instead is how the Lord has shown me tender mercies even amidst the intense, harrowing suffering I've endured. I don't think it's a coincidence that even Nephi included a similar insight, demonstrating Nephi's awareness of and gratitude for the Lord's tender mercies through all of the difficult times Nephi and his family were called to endure. Two places in particular stand out to me in Nephi's writings:

1. Before the close of the very first chapter of 1 Nephi, Nephi states his "thesis" as this: "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance" (1 Nephi 1:20).

2. Nephi saw tender mercies where others (e.g. Laman and Lemuel) saw only difficulties. His faith allowed him to see what the Lord was doing--how the Lord was providing smaller, compensating blessings to make life more endurable. This vision enabled Nephi to continue on to the promised land without murmuring.
And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.

And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.

And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness. (1 Nephi 17:1-3)
What small and simple tender mercies has the Lord shown me during this intense trial? Thinking about this now causes me to wonder if I'm paying enough attention to the little things in life, if perhaps I'm overlooking additional blessings. I am resolving now to be more mindful of the little things in my life. At present, these are the tender mercies that come to mind (and obviously this list isn't comprehensive by any means):
  • Patience when things do not work out as I'd expected and/or when I'd expected them to
  • A resilient, patient, loving best friend who consistently tries to help me, especially when I'm ready to give up
  • Finding a kindred spirit at work with whom I can share my innermost thoughts, Collective Soul, yummy broccoli pesto pizza (that she made!), and lots of laughter. (We can't sit next to each other in meetings anymore or we will VEx other people--haha!)
  • Sleep. When I am actually able to get it, I feel a lot better
  • A visiting teacher who cares and checks in on me
  • My friend Kim moving to my city and into my ward
  • Emails and texts from Karen. We laugh a lot together, and I know that she cares about me. When I was sick, she "conjured up" people in my city to check on me. I'm grateful that her friendship is never "out of service"
  • Feeling more settled and "safe" in my job. I remember how paranoid and insecure I felt in my previous employment--always worried that if I made one mistake, I'd get fired. Now, not only is my employer secure and not going anywhere (I'm certain of that!), but I also feel secure in my new leadership responsibilities, my new manager and his up-line, and that my effort at work makes a difference
  • Matt's miraculous work on my spreadsheet! Shift-F9 and I are now best friends
  • NCIS and NCIS: LA. Tuesday nights are good.

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