Last Monday, a refrigerator snafu left me pondering the goodness of God and his mercy in the minute details of my life. Since most of my 3 loyal readers have heard the story, I won't elaborate. However, in light of that moment, I'm going to dedicate my Monday posts to seeing God's hand in the small stuff (or big stuff or wherever I happen to notice!). The point is: I'm going to make a point to see God's mercy. And, I'm going to raise an Ebenezer right here on my blog each Monday entitled "New Mercy Mondays." Welcome to the first edition!
I spent the majority of my day (so far) paying my respects to a friend. Alice and I never went to lunch, hung out at the mall, or vacationed together. I never called to borrow an egg or to ask her to watch my children. In fact, I have no contact information at all for my friend Alice. I know her only because she and her husband, Gerald, faithfully attended my classes (no matter the format) in my full-time, part-time fitness instructor days.
I was fresh out of college when I began teaching (in addition to my real job) fitness classes for Aerobics to Go. Instructors at Aerobics to Go were "pimped out" to other venues and only a select few were allowed to actually teach at "the studio." I started as a call girl and eventually got asked to sub a class in "the big room!"
To say that this was NOT an easy crowd would be like describing the Grand Canyon by saying "this is not a small hole!" In fact, the way new fitness instructors were treated inside the "big room" is a felony in most of the fifty states!! The clients there had no qualms about picking up their steps and walking out as early as the warm-up! If they were feeling especially entitled, they would even storm out with sighs, huffs, and whispers in order to make as HUGE a scene as possible! It was a long time before a few of the members decided that I could move to the "acceptable" list of instructors; but, long before I was member-approved, I was Alice-approved! She encouraged me and spoke to me like I was a person with feelings, not like the hired help!
She and Gerald soon became two of my most faithful attendees. They were always the first to arrive. Gerald would set up his and Alice's steps (in their official respective spots...much like church pews, these spots were non-negotiable!) while Alice drank coffee and smiled warmly and greeted everyone else as they arrived.
Alice had a warmth and sincerity that was enrapturing. She would often take me by the arm, pull me aside and ask me how I was doing and, it wasn't just common pleasantries. Alice really cared to know. Her love for Christ and passion for living seeped from her and poured out onto everyone around her.
At the peak of my oh-so-non-impressive fitness career, I saw Alice 4-5 times a week. To say I knew her well would be a vast over-statement; yet, had I been asked to speak at her memorial service, I would have described Alice exactly as I heard her described.
As I sat and listened to people who knew Alice far more intimately than I speak to her warmth, kindness, and character, it became even more clear that Alice was as incredible as she seemed. The way she treated me was exactly the way she treated everyone. Hearing of her legacy inspired me to be the kind of person she was. I want to be the kind of person who leaves people feeling sincerely loved.
Therefore, on this very first "New Mercy Monday," I'm thanking God for relationships. What a beautiful gift he has given to us. The fact that we have the opportunity to share life and enjoy life and enrich the lives of others is an indescribable blessing. We should not take that gift lightly. I believe that every person we are privileged to meet is a gift of God's mercy. Always for His glory. Always for our good. Alice was certainly both.