As many of you know from the rest of my social media presence, my youngest graduated from PreK this week. It was all the gloriousness you would imagine. There were caps and gowns, diplomas, pictures, refreshments. For part of the program her class sang the song “You’ve got a friend in me” from the movie Toy Story®. It was, as you can imagine, adorable. And then the big one had her first acting gig in the church musical. She nailed it. And back to the little’s ballet recital. Killed it. And now we ready ourselves for the last week of school. Of course, you can’t go through this time of year, full of its transitions, without some reflection on the months that have passed.
It was a little over a year ago. I was listening to some music on a run and for some reason I started thinking about what it meant to be merciful. I was quick to realize that I didn’t really have any idea how to describe or understand or even think about mercy. This, of course, was disconcerting to me having been married to the Pastor for almost 15 years at that point. I was at a loss. So I decided I would spend some time trying to figure out what mercy was, where it was present, how it happened. And turns out, mercy showed up in all sorts of places. What I discovered is that mercy might be hard to understand because it is that sneaky thing that is always around but not obvious. But when you start looking for it, when you take the time to seek it out, you will find it’s all around. In the last year I have been enveloped in mercy.
Mercy is your best friend from long ago and also today getting up before the sun does to go to the YMCA with you. Even though she could go later…because you can’t. It is a new friend who came along just at the right time and always tells the truth even when it’s not nice. And reminds you they are there to stick through the best of times and the worst of times. You can feel it when you sit for coffee with someone who has been in your shoes and nods their head in understanding. You feel it when that call or text arrives at the exact perfect moment from someone you don’t often get to see but the friendship remains none the less.
Mercy shows up in a big blue van driven by a teensy twenty something year old who picks up kids, who look nothing like mine, after school and nourishes them with food, education and love four days a week. It’s there when those same kids are on stage at your church next to your own reciting lines in the cheesy kids musical that makes you tear up because you know that this demonstration of inclusion and unity is what God intended. And soon those kids aren’t those kids at all. They are just kids like mine and yours, showing up every week.
Mercy happens when that person who thought she’d never have a baby sees that face on the ultrasound, or even better, holds that person in their arms. But it is also there when you hold someone’s hand as you give them bad news or grieve with them in the losses great and small.
Mercy happens when the Pastor does a funeral for what can only be described as a tragedy and reminds us that the gospel is an unconventional story and we have an unconventional Savior. And so is mercy. It’s there in the loud and in the quiet. In the wins and in the losses. It’s wherever we show up and remind each other that there’s mercy enough for each of us.