Anyway, this story takes place when I was living in Massachusetts. I was working as a cabinetmaker in a shop with 80 men, being the only woman. It was tough. I mean TOUGH. There were some that welcomed me and others that resented me. I worked overnight, was a single mom, and with all my other mom duties, got about 20 hours of sleep a week.
So this one particular evening, I only had bus fare for my trip to work, not home. I didn't own a car and walked about a mile to town to catch the bus every night and then walked that mile home in the morning. I knew I couldn't afford to miss work. So, on faith, I trudged to the bus stop, did my overnight shift, dreading morning when I would have to walk the seven miles home. I wouldn't have minded, but this was in February and it was a particularly cold night and early morning and there was about a foot of snow on the ground in most places. When my shift was over, I was exhausted and headed out on my trek. I was bitter. With each step, my feet got colder and wetter and I hated the world a little bit more. I hated the men in my life who had let me down. I hated myself for not having gotten any further in my life and not having a car. I was resentful and angry.
The last half mile was all uphill. I know. This sounds like a typical parent "you don't know how good you've got it" story to a whiny child, but it is true. Worcester is built on 7 hills and my apartment was on one of them. So by this point, I can no longer feel my feet, my back is killing me, I know the day I have ahead of me, and I'm exhausted. Tears burned on my face for nanoseconds before freezing to my cheeks.
About a quarter of a mile from home, halfway up that hill, I looked up. I was prompted to do so. And there, on the top of someone's roof, riding around on one of those round louvered vents, was a bird. He was so proud and so content, riding around and around on this old vent as if it was a carousel. I began to laugh so hard. For whatever reason, in my depleted state, I found that the silliest thing I'd ever seen. I immediately stopped and said a prayer of thanksgiving to my sweet and loving father in heaven. I know he put that bird there and prompted me to look at it. My day was made, the dark night was over, and I was loved. I was loved so much that a way was provided for me to support my family. I was and continue to be eternally grateful for all the love and tender mercies shown to me.
Years later, when I was living comfortably on those luscious acres in Maryland, on a small farm, dreams seemingly having come true, I came in from working in my huge garden. I was hot and sweaty and again, feeling a little resentful that I had to do it all. No one was interested in coming and helping me. It was blazing with a lot of humidity and I was purple in the face (this story goes from the freezer to the frying pan!). Anyway, I again trudged into through the back door I had left open so I could hear the phone and headed to the sink to get a drink of water. While gulping it down, I heard a few clucks and looked around me. I saw nothing. Then, I took another swig and when my head was lifted up, there they were. My laying hens, the little fluffy opportunists, had come in through the back door while I was toiling in the garden and plopped themselves down on the ceiling fan. There, they were pleasurably enjoying a carousel ride on the low setting.
"How . . . why . . . ?"
I didn't mind disinfecting the entire kitchen after that. The picture of those silly girls enjoying their ride once again filled my heart with love and joy and another tender mercy from God. He makes things somehow seem bearable when I am most exhausted and shows His love even when I am at my worst--in the throes of resentment and bitterness. He softens my edges and makes me love my circumstance.