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.