At about 7:00pm the other night, just after cleaning up dinner, I paused.
It was the first time I had paused all day.
And in that moment I realized I hadn't seen one tender mercy.
Oh well, I thought, maybe some days don't have tender mercies.
It makes sense...I don't recall seeing 30 tender mercies in any given month that I can look back on. I decided not to be disappointed and hoped I would experience one the next day.
Hours later I climbed into bed. Once I was all cozy on top of my feather mattress and underneath my down comforter I paused again to reflect on the day. It had been a good one. I remembered something particular that had happened that had been an especially good thing. An unexpected blessing really. Small maybe, but significant. Something for which I was grateful.
And then it dawned on me.
There had been a tender mercy that day, and I had entirely missed it. How did that happen? Especially because we are in the middle of this challenge...it seems moments like that would be readily apparent to someone who was trying to have a month of many mercies. I was momentarily aware that I might be lacking in gratitude.
So I set a goal.
If there ever is a night that I climb into bed and feel that there might not have been any mercies in my day I will make a gratitude list. There, within the gratitude I will discover the mercies.
Yesterday as I read 1 Nephi 11 I was intrigued by the dialogue that started with the Spirit asking Nephi, "What desirest thou?"
I was immediately reminded how good the Lord is. How loving and kind. My thoughts filled with other scriptural moments when the Lord has asked an individual about their wants..."What will ye that I should do?" (Ether 2:23) "Ask what I shall give thee..." (1 Kings 3:5) The Lord doesn't just give us what He thinks we need...sometimes He sends what we think we need.
Nephi desired to see and understand his father's dream.
The Spirit answered with one word, "Look!"
I love that the word has an exclamation mark after it. That doesn't happen very often in the scriptures.
It is a powerful lesson. Isn't that what we have to do to recognize the mercies of the Lord? Look!
Last night when we were reading together as a family I was taught a greater lesson in this regard. In our family we read individually for ten minutes. Then we go around in a circle and we share one thing that we have learned from our reading. Each of us shared a tender mercy moment from the place in the Book of Mormon where we were. They were really good.
Grace went last.
"What's yours?" I asked.
"That Laman and Lemuel went into the wilderness." She must have seen the surprised look on my face because she said, "That is a tender mercy, isn't it?"
And I thought about Lehi, who stood at the tree and beckoned, who loved his boys...every one...and who probably climbed into bed that first night in the wilderness with gratitude in his heart...
that Laman and Lemuel went into the wilderness.
There are tender mercies all around us. Sometimes unexpected. Sometimes small, but always significant.
In moments of gratitude we will find them there.