Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tender Mercies


I got a GREAT letter in the mail today. Just looking at it makes me happy, but you won't understand why unless I tell you the story.

A couple of months ago, I spent a ridiculous amount of money for two seats to an Andrea Bocelli Christmas concert. This impulsive decision was based on the fact that I'd seen a couple of amazing songs from the show on PBS a couple of nights earlier. When an advertisement for Bocelli appeared in my inbox, I ended up clicking "purchase." I wanted to see that concert like no other.

I broke the news to my husband, helped him through his near collapse upon hearing the price, then settled in to wait for the big day. When I went to print out the tickets, one night before the big event, I suddenly froze. You see, the tickets were not quite what I expected. Oh sure, they were for the right night. They were even for the right performer. The only problem was this: They were for the wrong arena! No, I am not kidding you. I had purchased horrifically expensive tickets to the Staples Center in LA, even though I happen to reside hundreds of miles away in the Bay area. "How did this happen," you may well ask? And I would love to supply a reasonable answer, except that there is none. Well, I guess maybe you could sort of defend my sanity by pointing out that I'm from LA (and a big Lakers fan), so the Staples Center does sound familiar to me. But, still. Kinda scary, right?

Even scarier was the fact that I had splurged on two very pricey tickets I could not use. My first thought was to give them to one of my relatives in LA as an early Christmas present. (Many were interested; none could make it.) Having struck out with the family, I put 'em on Craigslist, hoping for the best. After a few nibbles but no real bites, I facebooked my LA friends to see if anyone could take the goods off my hands. No such luck. As the concert drew nigh, I realized that it was either waste the tickets entirely or gift them to a stranger. And if I was going to give them away, I wanted it to be to someone who deserved a great big lucky break for Christmas.

With that in mind, I texted my sister. She works at a Catholic school near LA with a bunch of amazing women, and I asked her to pick one of them to receive the tickets. My criteria was that she choose someone who normally couldn't afford that type of thing. (After all, teachers don't exactly get paid what they're worth, right?) Anyway, she wound up choosing a young woman who was apparently over the moon to go to the concert. I sent her the tickets happily, and that was that.

Until I got her letter today, that is. I'm going to share an excerpt with you, because it's quite remarkable. Have you ever heard of tender mercies? (If not, you have now!)

"Dear Sue- You have no idea what a huge blessing the concert was for us. My mother-in-law passed away at Thanksgiving; she was a big fan of Bocelli. With our travels to Louisiana to take care of Dad, there is no way we could have afforded to go to Staples otherwise. With tears in his eyes, while they started to perform 'The Prayer,' my husband said he thought this gift was from his mom, and that our angel messenger was you. 'Thank you' cannot express our depth of gratitude."

"Thank you" can't express my depth of gratitude, either...that I got to be in on this heavenly gift exchange from mother to son. How cool is that? MADE MY DAY. And made me think that not all of these little mistakes in life are really accidents!

=)

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43 comments:

Dixie Mom said...

I love to be the tender mercy.
What a great and memorable gift Sue. I am sure she is so grateful and will never forget this act of kindness.

Laraine Eddington said...

This is proof that whatever comes our way can be used for the good. What a great story.

Lisalulu said...

What a beautiful story! truly a happiness project- with you being the fairy godmother! magical!

BECKY said...

What a beautiful story to share, Sue, especially after the sadness of an earlier one....and both pertaining to mothers and sons....and love that goes beyond....

Lisa Loo said...

What a great way to start the day--thanx for sharing!

Momza said...

I love you, Sue, but seriously, you shoulda put a Kleenex Warning at the top of this post!
Wow. What a testimony to the principle that WE ARE God's Hands.
We so need one another. Every day.
Thank you for sharing your tender mercy. I hope this makes up for the money lost on the purchase. AND it's totally something I woulda done!

Susan said...

Wow, what an amazing story! That is so special that your ticket mix up created such a tender moment for two strangers, and that you received such a thoughtful letter is indeed a happy event!

Natalie said...

Oh I nearly cried in reading this! What a great thing it was you did! Beautiful

Annette Lyon said...

What a great "mistake"! (Not really one, because it was meant to be, of course.) Also a testament to the power of writing a thank you note. What if you'd never heard what happened? You'd always think it was a silly mistake.

Thanks for such an uplifting post!

Shannon said...

Oh.my.goodness. What a story! Just warms my heart.

love and life ♥ said...

Gorgeous story. Thanks for sharing! xo

Wendy said...

You gave a great gave a great experience! The concert will always be a memory for you and the couple.

Katie Blacker said...

wow, what a cool story.

Our Beaten Path said...

Great story! Really enjoyed reading it!

Brian Miller said...

oh wow...what a blessing you were and then they to you in writing...nothing is random...

Amy said...

I love that! When we recognize tender mercies it is the most humbling thing in the world. To know that we really have a Father who loves us and is watching out for us. How wonderful that no one could go and you were able to help soothe the broken hearts of a stranger. I love that you listen to the spirit and act impulsively sometimes.

Queen Scarlett said...

You made me cry happy tears. Beautiful! I'm originally from the Bay Area! Holla!

Actuary Mom said...

That is just a lovely, lovely happiness project. Thanks for sharing!

Mumsy said...

This really touched me and brought tears to my eyes. I am a firm believer that nothing happens by accident, not even our mistakes. You were blessed to find out what a blessing your gift was to those you gifted. What tender mercies indeed. Thank you, so much for sharing this sweet Sue.

Cherie said...

I have some serious chills going on. That is just SOOOO neat! I am glad that you were able to do that but even more elated that she wrote to tell you about it. Wonderful.

Roger and LeAnn said...

Wow, Sue I have tears running down my cheeks and had such an experience with the spirit. Thanks so much for sharing this tender mercy because it made my afternoon. How beautiful to be part of a tender mercy. Bless you for giving such a gift.
My husband and I lived in San Jose, California for a few years in the early 70's. We have such fond memories of the area and of many friends that we had there.
Blessings and hugs to you! LeAnn

karen said...

That's one of the best stories I've ever heard! How lucky are you to be on the giving end of that exchange! It's a wonderful feeling to be able to bless someone's life like that.

Donna said...

Sue...that is just the most beautiful story!! Such an amazing gift...I think I might have made a trip out of those tickets and had a great time but unselfishly you gave them to a stranger...what a blessing! If you could not use them...how fun to be a fairy god mother to deserving people....and Andrea Bocelli...WOW!!

yaya said...

What a great story and how generous of you to make something not so great into a dream come true for someone else. As I've said before, it's not usually the things we do that we regret, it's the things we pass up doing...good job!

jen said...

Don't you love it when you're the answer? And you find out you were the answer?

Karen Mortensen said...

That is so sweet. I agree that sometime "mistakes" aren't really mistake at all.

Grandma Honey said...

I love your kind heart and how you wanted to make sure someone got the tickets who 'needed' them. And that sure did happen!

Jess said...

I love that you are so completely generous, just like a wish fairy flitting around.

pandabox33 said...

That is so touching !

Jackie said...

Oh Sue! I love this story!

Stef said...

Wow! Maybe you didn't get the wrong place after all. Tender mercy indeed!

Darlene said...

I can imagine how happy you were to receive that really neat letter. I know that you made one couple extremely happy to be able to go to that wonderful concert. I wish we could have made the trip to Los Angeles ourselves, but I'm thinking it was probably just as well we didn't, since that particular gift was just supposed to be. What a great giver of gifts you are, Sue. It wll worked out so perfectly.

Jo said...

what a beautiful gift Sue ...

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

I needed some tissues reading this one! Wow. What a great story. The Holy Spirit really worked through you here! I agree with you that sometimes "mistakes" are really all a part of the plan. You're such a beautiful person, Sue.
By the way, I adore Andrea Bocelli. I can only imagine it was an amazing concert!

Lara said...

Oh man, you made me cry. Tender mercy indeed. While I'm sorry you didn't get to see the concert yourself, what a wonderful way to not see it.

Cheryl said...

Wow. Goosebumps.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Very sweet story.

VK said...

What a beautiful story. You are an angel to many, and what a great experience this was. Listening to direction is a pure talent that you don't seem to try to hide.
Thanks for the example.

Snarky Belle said...

Such a beautiful story!! They will never forget that tender mercy. You are an inspiration!

Myrna Foster said...

This story brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing it.

Jenny said...

You are a gem, Sue. A woman filled with grace and generosity.

I admire you so much.

leigh said...

This was so inspiring Sue...what a blessing you are.

Farmer's Wyfe said...

What an incredible story! Made me teary-eyed. I'm soooo glad I finally found your blog. I've tried seeing if you had one before, but for some reason, I couldn't find it. Now I have. What a wonderful writer and sweet person you are. I feel sooo incredibly complimented now by your comments reading the way your write! Thank you. And I'll very gladly be back!!!

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