Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mercy Moments

I was in a little fender-bender scratcher today.  We're all ok! Though my neck and back are a little stiff, it's mostly my pride that's pretty bruised.  Accidents are humbling, aren't they?
They're especially humbling when it's your fault.
Picture the scene...Kids have been bickering non-stop in the backseat and there is road work ahead...I stop behind the car in front of me.  Suddenly it's time to go when the bickering gets to an all-time high.  As I step on the gas pedal to accelerate forward, I turn my head just for a second to politely ask scream "STOOOOOP!" At that very second, I slammed into the car in front of me, without a single tap to the breaks.  I felt my body ricochet back and forth and I was momentarily stunned.  Slowly, the white car in front of me moves forward through the road work, trying to find a safe place to pull over.  I see several pairs of wide eyes in my rear view mirror...Kids are suddenly quiet, go figure!  I call out to the back "Is everyone ok?"  One little chatterbox pipes up like a quiet little church mouse, making the obvious statement: "Mommy, we just hit somebody!"  Um, yeah.
Could have been a doozy.
By the grace of God, we were all just fine, hoping for the same in the car we just hit...
The white car makes a left turn and pulls over to the side.  I follow with my tail between my legs, bracing myself for a huge debt to pay if there was a person injured or damage to their vehicle.  I was sure there was going to be damage to their bumper at the very least.
I immediately pulled over and hopped out, eager to surrender my guilt, apologize, assist, and hand over my life insurance card. As if I were watching in slow-motion, a little silver-haired old man emerged from the white car.  He had a hunched back and could barely lift his head.  I'm not sure what the condition is called that causes the hunched back but this was his appearance. Oh my goodness, I felt simply awful!  He didn't even look up at me until I spoke..."I am so sorry, sir!  Are you o.k.?"  He gently tilted his head and flashed the sweetest smile. "I'm just fine and you?"  My heart just about melted in relief!  I started to babble about the kids but he didn't seem to really care.  He bent over (even more than he already was) to assess the damage which definitely consisted of a few scratches to his rubber bumber and a cracked hitch cover.  With surprise in his voice he exclaims: "Doesn't look like much damage considering how hard you hit...Don't worry about it. Oh, and thank you for stopping."  What do you mean don't worry about it?  I coudn't believe my ears...And he was thanking me for stopping?  I continued to insist that he at least take my name and number, just in case.  He wouldn't have it.  Still in shock, I nervously apologized again. He just looked up at me with his wise blue eyes and flashed that sweet smile again as he silently hobbled back to the driver's side of his vehicle.
I stood there, stunned, not knowing what to say...
"God bless you," I shouted after him.  He didn't turn his head but held up his hand in acknowledgement.
As I got back in the car, I felt a flood of mercy pour over me, cleansing me like a river of forgiveness. The grace of this moment struck me, far outweighing the trauma of the initial hit.  Though I felt that I deserved to be punished, he treated me with kindness.  What? He even thanked me for goodness sakes! Being the recipient of mercy is a powerful gift.  I think we often don't realize its value until it has been lavished upon us.  It certainly opened my heart to pay the mercy forward to the wide eyes in the backseat:)

 The funny thing is that God gives us this gift every day.  It's there, one of the most powerful gifts we can receive in our lifetime.  He's there to love us and forgive us if we surrender and humble ourselves long enough to accept it.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the greatest mercy moments on earth.  Silently and patiently, freedom waits for us there, real freedom, life-changing freedom,...If only we pull over, get out, and surrender our mistakes. 
 They are all around us, these mercy moments.  How exciting is that? There are mercy moments to give and mercy moments to receive.  As Christians, we are called to give and receive mercy.  How can we love one another without mercy? Doesn't it seem nearly impossible? The real question is whether we will pull over, get out and surrender...Or will we keep on going?   I know I need to pull over a lot more often.


  1. Yowzer! That could be me more times than not. and receiving...and being the recipient. I'm so glad you are all okay. Seriously! A profound God moment indeed, and one the kids in the back can hopefully learn from as well :) Hang in there. Blessings for a good night sleep!

  2. Tiffany, so glad that you and your children are ok!!! I love how you took that messy situation and found the grace of God within it! Thank you for sharing it here. You are a blessing!

  3. Thanks be to God that all are safe! And for the beautiful and merciful heart of that gentleman. I drying my tears... these kinds of moments keep me going. God 's name is Mercy!!!

  4. So glad all is well, and God chose to show you His mercy through the works of one of His children, even if an old one. A mercy moment, and .... not having children I can't comment further, but it seems that there would be some further teaching moment there relative to their behavior.

  5. I am glad that no one was hurt! So scary a situation. But in your story there is so much holiness to go around. I once knew a priest that use to tell me and the children in our church, to look for Jesus everywhere, you never know when you will get to meet Him.

    When you said blue eyes, it's the mothering blue that came to my mind and the vision of Jesus' eyes. The grace that all mother's have during a moment of truth, especially when one is trying to correct (yell) at a child while driving or even over a hot stove cooking a dinner. It's in those moments of corrections, the bump(ers) in life that God will let us see the beauty of forgiveness and mercy. How beautiful it must have been to see the eyes of Jesus at a time where you felt helpless. A moment like that Tiffany is one for your life record books. I have been encountering many of these hidden Holy Spirit moments in the midst of my chaos and family situation. When you are least aware of the situation in life, the Holy Spirit will give you the grace to move on not with a tail between your legs like you stated, but with your head lifted to the skies praising Alleluia and Amen to our Father in Heaven. God bless you Tiffany. What a beautiful story for your family legacy in your family. blessings and hugs!

  6. Thank you all for the kind comments and charitable support:) I am always so blessed by you. Lessons learned all around, and still talking about them! Thanks again!

  7. Praise God that you and your children were uninjured and that the dear man was unhurt, gracious and merciful.


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