My friendship with Beth began with small acts of mercy. She would stop by my office where I served as a youth director whenever she needed money or food to sustain her until her next monthly check arrived. Beth carried what I perceived as deep paranoia, and I felt that my best acts of mercy were to engage her in interesting conversations, which helped to distract and diminish her anxiety for short spells.
Beth was one who challenged my patience when I had work to do. She stretched our comfort when she would show up at our home and we would invite her in- even if she had not showered for some time. I would be irritated when she needed something that I could provide (a ride to the store, a letter typed, a call made) but the time wasn’t convenient.
But Beth was the one who angrily stormed into my office, admonishing me for breaking up with Jim, pointing out that he was the best thing that ever happened to me. She was astonished that I couldn’t see how we were meant to be together, we were made for each other. “You are just afraid!” she exclaimed.
And she was right. A few weeks later, I reunited with Jim, my true love, and he proposed to me at Christmas. Beth felt proud that she was instrumental in helping all of this happen, and we gratefully affirmed that. She gave us a fancy water hose spigot for a wedding gift, but graciously declined our invitation to attend.
I am thankful that my initial acts of mercy and compassion led the way to a deeper friendship with Beth. Beth helped me to see beyond “normal” to the gifts that are hidden in people who are not like me. Beth was my truth teller, my conscience poker, and my insightful friend. She taught me much more than can be written in this five-minute space.
What I thought was mercy for her, truly became a wonderful gift of mercy and grace for me.
(I wrote another post about Beth when she died last year, which you may find here: A Tribute to Beth)
This post is part of a writing community, Five Minute Friday. Each week, we are given a one word prompt, and five minutes to write. You will find some great writers at the site listed under the photo.
Thank you for sharing a picture of Beth in your tribute to her. It’s so lovely to put a face with the kind words you have about her. As I’m reading the various FMF posts, I keep coming back to the point you made: mercy is not entirely for the person we have mercy on. We benefit as much (if not more) as they do.
Amie, FMF #11
Thanks, Amie, I love that photo of her. Thanks for visiting- I am eager to read all the other posts, too!
Karen, what a beautiful, thoughtful tribute to Beth. A powerful insight you shared: “What a blessing to see Christ in the one we had only hoped would see Christ in us.” Sometimes we are intent on sharing the good news in Christ and trying to serve that we approach others not so open to what we can receive. Thanks, sister.
I like how you worded this, Cristy! Thanks always for your encouragement and your added wisdom.
What a lovely tip of the hat to your friend. You write with such grace and heart!
No, they are not like us,
they do not seem quite whole,
but you can truly trust
that God so loves their souls
and that He gave them special gifts
denied to such as we;
the powers, yea, by which they lift
our hearts that we can see
that difference is blessing,
and crippled is not cursed
we’re all grapes for the pressing
and when we have been burst
our juices mingle in the wine
the holy drink of the Divine.
I know that I am being selfish, but I thank God every time I see your post and comments, Andrew! Thank you for always taking the time to bless me and my friends here.
I don’t know how you are able to come up with such meaningful poetry in such a short time. (Well, yes, I do.) Thank you for opening your heart for God’s work. It is an honor and blessing to read your words.
“He gave them special gifts denied to such as we.” Amen.
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What a beautiful story and so full of mercy. I’m sorry to hear she has passed. I think you describe her so well I can almost picture her, even though I don’t know what she looks like. God bless my lovely blogger friend x
Thank you, I will always be grateful for her- glad you found her photo! I am thankful for you, too. God bless you~
Thank-you for sharing your friendship and memories of Beth. Love how God taught you in new ways through Beth. I’m your neighbor at FMF.
Thank you, Carol!
Thank you for sharing your tribute to Beth! So beautiful! We have a “Beth” in our lives right now and my attitude has not been the best lately. This was a good (and convicting) reminder for me that I need to be extending mercy and compassion on this person even when it’s so hard to do so.
Annie FMF #19
Oh Annie, thank you for your honesty. There are times when we know what is right and good, but we are challenged to “feel” that way! Keep writing!
Beautiful post–and tribute to Beth (I clicked on the link to read it).
Visiting from #26
Another Lovely Tribute to Beth! I just finally read it this morning! I was busy all week with Sandi and we saw her off yesterday. I had such peace about seeing her leave! (Tears came after she got in the elevator) God wrapped it up perfectly! I have been thanking him so much for Sandi in my life and we Blessed each other, Just as Beth enriched your life and you enriched hers! God has lessons for us all! I can hardly wait for the next one🤗 ( I re read your Tribute to Beth and enjoyed it once again❣️) Blessings to you and Jim! ( l started my day in W Virginia!)