The Mercy

Writing in a journal is something I’ve done quite consistently for long enough that my original storage space is tight. It helps me to remember details I’d otherwise forget, to reminisce and laugh and shake my head at my younger self. Writing about the events of my life also helps me process them. However, when I write poetry the emotions bleed through, and I’m often surprised at what comes out. It’s like a journey of self-discovery.

Earlier this week after recent events in my life were swirling around in my head, some words came to mind and I began to write before I lost my muse:


First, the affliction of the body

And then of the mind and soul

The latter is far worse

And the mercy is

That which was easier to bear

Came first

In preparation

Though you thought

It was the end

And it was enough

But the mercy is

That you grow impossibly strong

And powerfully compassionate

And wiser than before

In preparation

And the mercy is

While some are broken now

Others can carry them through

Dark channels and hold them

So they won’t fall apart

And when these others have

A turn to be broken

Their own others will be there

And here is the mercy

Everyone breaks

But not all at once


This was a reflection on the struggles of several people I love who have gone through physical struggles and pain that were difficult to bear. But later they experienced and continue to go through struggles that attack the mind and soul.

One of my wonderful coworkers traveled to a magical place last weekend, where evidence of fall is found in the changing colors of leaves. I don’t see this where I live, but she brought back a bit of the season. It was such a small thing, yet it gave me a bit of joy when I needed it! While I haven’t endured challenges of the same type or to the same degree as the people who inspired my poem, I have watched the pain.

I’ve felt a tiny slice of it. I’ve shed tears over how long and deep the pain and fear can be. I’ve been frightened with them, surrounded by unknowns. But then I remember again when I can’t fix it, even the smallest things can help in between, in that period before healing, before answers, before comfort. We all go through our own trials. When they escalate, sometimes we even break and stay that way a while. A smile or a hug or a listening ear can mean everything in those moments. And that is a mercy.


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