I have had an emotional week. The election in the US did not help but a number of conversations with women unrelated to the vote have nudged their way into my psyche. I cannot share details but I can tell you that I know too many women who are broken. Layer this on to the results of the election and I wonder how much damage will be done to girls and women around the world. We are all so broken and the threat of more shattering seems real.
Yesterday Doors of Mercy shut around the world in Catholic Churches. The one in the photo was one of the official doors I walked through several times on my spring pilgrimage. I had this sense that once was not enough. I walked through several unofficial doors during this year too, wanting to have each drop of mercy permeate my entire being. I am broken too and I long for healing. We will need Mercy beyond this one year mark. We will always need Mercy to balance all that threatens our sanity and safety.
This week I heard stories of violence–great physical and emotional injury. I listened to brave and courageous women tell me that they had more than survived. They had been able to move past the pain, betrayal, hatred, and control that should have destroyed them. I marveled at it on the one hand but I grieve for the infrastructure that creates such scenarios. Not everyone I spoke to though is moving forward; some are still caught up in the sorrow of what happened. I have had conversations this week with people who stand to lose a sense of security south of the border but even in my country will struggle to not be broken watching the hatred that has already reared its ugly, hateful head.
What is my role in this story? I have listened and affirmed individuals this past week. Over the years I have volunteered with organizations that seek healing and justice for the oppressed and abused. I have played with children at centres for abused women while their mothers have had counseling; I have been part of an interfaith group to learn about other religions than my own; I volunteer at a prison; I hope that my queer friends know that I am an ally; for over 30 years I banged my head against walls in the Deaf community. All this, yet I catch myself this week not showing Mercy myself at times. I see the darkness inside of me and know that I am sinner. I see my own brokenness and limited capacity to judge fairly. We are all broken to various degrees and all of us are in need of Mercy.
The sadness in my heart from the tales I have heard this past week is wrestling with peace, rather than welcoming it in for a dialogue. I feel anger brewing as a result but I know that Mercy will find its way and so will I. I wish I could take a magic wand and sweep the pain away for my women friends. I hope that being a listener to an anguish-filled memory will help heal some of the hurt that individuals have carried for years.
The official Doors of Mercy are closed, but I pray that we may all keep them open in our own hearts.
Where has Mercy been lacking in your own heart lately?
Who do you need to extend Mercy to?
Doors may close on the one hand, God, but nothing good can be shut out forever. Your Love and Mercy prevail. Keep my heart open to Good. May I be ever vigilant to not spreading hatred and division. Show me the path of righteousness and steady my steps when the road gets rough. Amen.