5 minute Friday: on mercy.
It’s that time again. Write for 5 minutes flat, prompted by one word, chosen by another. Here we go…
When I think of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go as a teenager and young woman, I think of the rough places, that no one wanted to go to, the places where mercy was all you needed. So, we went to the dying in the Mother Teresa homes across the developing world, the smells and sights, too much for my heart to bear. The old and frail, the long fingernails and the bedpans troubled me, challenged me, and I didn’t like it. These crumbling crevices that housed the dying in this bustling, chaotic Egyptian capital were too much. Alright, I can’t do it, I can’t do mercy like this. This is what these beautiful nuns are for, oh bless their blue trimmed robes. They are like Jesus.
So, let’s try babies, let’s try catching slippery babies, born onto metal beds in the windowless room of a government maternity hospital in India.
And this, this is what I can do. This is what caused me to sweat and smile and cry and be broken, and no amount of blood or crowning babies could sway me. I was in love.
This is mercy in action, I thought, I could put my stamp on it, call it my own. The vernix, the lanugo, and yes even the death. Although this kind of death–in these numbers, caved my heart right in and made me cry “mercy Abba, mercy“.
Oh, how the world reeks with suffering.
And yet, the world is full of mercy, it is fragranced with this sweet anointing oil.
But we are the ones carrying this mercy, carrying it in our cups, until we are full, full and overflowing. We are the ones changing bedpans and comforting the grieving mother. We are the ones bringing meals and sending gifts that say: love and hope and mercy! We are the charging army that carries these burdens. We have a grace, even when we may be heavy laden, that calls us to carry other’s burdens, throw them at the foot of the cross. This is too heavy for you, here, let me.
I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart, says e.e cummings.
And now, the need for mercy has come right to my home, to my womb and to the child we have created. She is reliant on us for everything, she is fragile, and she still brings me to the Father’s feet, crying, “mercy Abba, mercy.” And this time I can’t run away, and I can’t say: this is impossible.
Sometimes suffering knocks on our front door, but we know, oh we know through the darkness, that mercy is here, mercy is coming.
And it looks like you. And it looks like Jesus.
And it looks like love, so let your heart love and let your needs be put aside, and carry the cup of mercy, carry it full, so it brims and pours out.
Let it overflow.