It could be worse. I keep telling myself this after the crazy two week stretch we've had in the Shearer household. Here's how the last few weeks have played out:
1. A deer rammed into the side of my car, causing $3,000 worth of damage. Unfortunately, the deer did not have insurance.
2. A lady rammed into the side of Jeni's car while Joey was driving, causing $1,000 worth of damage. Fortunately, she did have insurance.
3. Maddy got stuck in our driveway with all the ice and snow late one night. In process of trying to dislodge the car for over an hour (boiling water under the tires doesn't work by the way), I tweaked my back.
4. Our pipes completely froze in our house. We were without water the entire day. In process of trying to warm up the main water line into the house, it burst, causing a flood in our basement. As I tried to use my shop-vac to get the water up, I tweaked my back again.
Moments like these have made me appreciate that as crazy as life can be and is, things could always be worse. I am learning to have gratitude during the journey, however hard that journey is. And I am starting to learn that somewhere in the midst of each trial, there is always a tender mercy of the Lord waiting to be uncovered if we will but look for it. In reference to the four situations above:
1. The deer could have hit me head on causing the airbags to deploy, major car damage and I could have been stranded on a back road late at night. Instead the car was completely driveable and I was able to return home safely.
2. The damage to Jeni's car could have been much worse. Jeni or Joey could have been injured, yet both drove away unharmed.
3. Maddy could have been stuck somewhere far from home, yet it happened right at the bottom of our driveway. I was able to get Joey to come and help, boil water (oh wait, that didn't work) and call our home-teachers who live right down the street (that did work).
4. And with the flood, I came into the room probably within 30 seconds of the pipe exploding. As much damage as was done, it could have been infinitely worse if it had been allowed to continue for even just a few minutes longer. The entire basement could have flooded damaging furniture, food storage, toys, books, yet the only damage was to our ping-pong table and carpet and padding which have now been removed. A great neighbor came over late at night and helped replace and dethaw the frozen pipe and in process of doing so he also uncovered several sections in the wall that hadn't been insulated which will prevent this from happening again.
"We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance." (Elder David Bednar, The Tender Mercies of the Lord, April 2005 General Conference)