Life has some interesting twists in it. Some days are really good. And other days are ... well, not so much. And other days are somewhere in between. You’re not ecstatic, but you’re not in the mire either.
Sometimes when I’m not down, I encounter that middle ground while thinking about a time when I was down. Especially when that time pertains to someone I loved with all my heart.
Lately I’ve been missing my cat. Not as bad as I once did, especially in the aftermath of her death. But I do think about and miss her. At the same time I recognize the great blessing she was in my life.
I remember the day I adopted her. It was in the aftermath of losing a very treasured relationship. A woman I loved with all my heart chose someone else, and she left salt in my wound as she shared her decision. Furthermore, I had looked to her as my Obi-Wan — my one and “only hope” of salvation from an eternity of singleness. Losing her really broke me.
A friend at work saw my despair and insisted I adopt an animal. She thought a pet might help me. So she scheduled an appointment in my calendar to go to the shelter and secure a cat.
We were both surprised to see only five cats available that day. But when I took that little angel out of her cage and held her for the first time, a surge of electricity went through me. I knew instinctively I had to adopt this animal. So I did.
And thus began a great chapter of healing in my life. The Lord was mindful of me in inspiring a good friend to bring a tender mercy into my life. It wasn’t instantly better that first day this cat lived with me. Like anything worthwhile in life, my healing took time. But each daily task of caring for this cat, who I named Tashi, brought me one step closer to the healing I sought.
I suspect Tashi was abused before she arrived at the shelter. At first, she would cower away every time I tried to pet her. And she’d devour immediately everything placed in her dish, as if she didn’t know when she might eat again.
As a result, Tashi would vomit at least 2 or 3 times every single day. Cleaning up after her became a real chore, and it was easy to see why she was in the shelter to begin with. But I committed myself to honor the obligation I entered when I adopted her. I persistently helped her to relearn her natural eating pattern, and over time (almost a year) she was eating more normally and vomiting about once a week.
The sacrifices I made for my cat endeared her to me. And so it is with anyone in life. Our hearts grow more tender for those for whom we sacrifice to serve, especially when we do so without any thought for ourselves. These people (and animals) who come into our lives represent tender mercies from the Lord. And the longer we sacrifice for them, the greater the love we feel for them.
I’ve posted previously about the tender mercy the Lord provided me in Tashi. But it’s good to remember those tender mercies. It’s good to be reminded that the Lord has never forsaken us.
And it’s good to remember that He never will. The Lord continues to provide evidences of His love for us every single day. We just need eyes to see what is right there to be seen.
Singles life can be quite challenging. But remembering the tender mercies the Lord has provided and continues to provide to us on an individual and daily basis can bolster us to meet the challenges we face — and overcome them.
Tashi died almost two years ago. That day was one of the worst of my life. The days immediately after weren’t that great either. But with time the grief has subsided. Memories of her still come but less painfully.
In another couple of months I’ll be remembering that day she died. But I will also offer a prayer of gratitude to God that His tender mercies allowed me to have her in my life for the time I did have her. And I’ll look forward to the future, forward to more tender mercies offering me an even brighter tomorrow.
When we follow the Lord, we are marching on to glory. His tender mercies provide strength and consolation to keep marching. So if you feel tired or beaten down, remember the tender mercies the Lord has provided and continues to provide to you. Then take my hand. Let’s march on to glory together.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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