I’ve had occasion, lately, to be reminded of some times in my life where my plan didn’t pan out the way I had hoped. As an adult, who can now look back on those times and cherish them for the learning experiences they were, I’m finding a truth deeper than I’d imagined. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the mercy, compassion and love that was shown to me.
My Dad is the king of quips and quotes. He has a story or a line for every occasion. As a teenager, there were countless eye rolls as he told his silly jokes to whoever would listen. But, as an adult, I hear those soundbites pop up at the most opportune of times.
In remembering some hard times in my life, I am reminded of 2 things in particular that my parents told us:
“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
“You can always come home. No matter what. Home is the safest place.”
Because those things were deeply rooted in my psyche, the first time I tired of life, I heard them as loud as the clanging of a bell. I recognized I was in trouble. I called home.
Reviewing these moments with the benefit of maturity, hindsight and an understanding of the lessons being taught, I’m so grateful that my parents meant what they said. I have known too many people whose parents said they could come home, but negated that truth with their actions. I’ve watched too many of my friends admit mistakes in search of help and restoration, only to be shamed. I’m one of the lucky ones. My parents knew I had done my best, but I needed help, and I needed rest. I needed them to understand and not judge. They were gracious to give me that mercy.
I’m sure there were closed-door chats about what was going on and how best to handle it. But, they never made me feel shamed. When I called, I heard the two most precious words – “Come Home”.
Maybe they just really understood Matthew 7:1-2
Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Or, maybe they just really understood the Golden Rule
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them
Or, as I suspect was also the case, they let the Lord lead them in how to deal with their tired and broken daughter. They let discernment and compassion guide them as I took a turn I never saw coming.
I also believe they’d already learned the lesson that life doesn’t always go to plan, but sometimes happy accidents turn out to be the best things to ever happen (even when they are excruciatingly painful or humiliating).
Whatever the case, I’m grateful.
Here’s the video that brought this to mind today. If you’re a parent, I hope you will consider the value of mercy in raising your children. And, whether you are or not raising little ones, I hope you will consider the value of mercy in all of your relationships. It’s truly priceless. It’s only through they eyes of mercy that we see ourselves well enough to love those around us.