For two weeks I’ve wanted to thank you for the Saturday night you came home to comfort me. Your laughter in the house calmed me; I teared up when Gabe slid next to you on the couch and unconsciously held your hand in both of his. Even sweeter was your presence at church the next day sitting on our old row. I loved the moment when little Mary spotted you, exited the pew on her side and walked all the way around to climb on your lap.
And though I’m used to your helpful spirit, my heart sang when you came home with me to frost the cupcakes and followed me back to the church to carry the tipsy cake platters into the Young Women’s room before your drive back to Provo.
Those sound like simple acts, don’t they? Small things. But when a heart is aching it’s the small kindnesses that become divine. As a mother I’m accustomed to doing the nurturing, the hand holding, the cookie baking for a sad child; often I’m the subject of jokes and wisecracks (because let’s face it, I’m an easy and safe target) — but when sympathy and compassion are turned toward me it heals my heart.
My words may sound like a cry for help– and they are. Pray for me. Please pray for me. I’m doing well, counting my blessings, trudging through my to-do list and searching for beauty in every hour. But it’s still hard and I find myself sobbing at odd moments.
Your brothers and your dad are buoying me up daily, hourly– offering me tissues and firm hugs. And that– the gentleness that I see in you and your siblings– is the tender mercy in this mess. From your earliest days I’ve tried to teach you generosity, benevolence and a constant awareness that everyone you meet is a fellow child of God. I really don’t care if my children earn large paychecks, accolades or trophies; I only ask that you become of great use to your fellow man. That you mourn with those who mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.
Ah Benny boy, I love you. I expect the giant-hearted people of Italy will teach us all– I can scarcely wait for your adventures to begin. Except, I can wait, because I love having you close enough to cut a Christmas tree, swing Mary in the air and steal a box of Frosted Mini Wheats whenever you come home.