Over 6 years ago I returned from a 4 month journey to Kolkata, India. It was a life-changing trip, to say the least.
I didn't have a digital camera back then, so no photos to go with this post...but what I did have with me was a heart that was expanding with the possibilities of mercy. I find that I'm still carrying that heart with me.
Here's a story from those days:
And there was this baby. her hair was light with malnutrition and she slept in her older sister's arms. I touched her face and it felt warm even to my hot hands. She wouldn't wake and her sister begged for money. I wanted to grab that child and run- the longing of it, the pain of it piercing so deeply that I was brought to tears.
The next day we visited St. Thomas' Mount in Chennai (the place where Thomas of the New Testament supposedly died). A man was begging at the top of these steep steps. He said: have mercy on me. I smiled and said: maybe later.
I shivered in the India heat at my words: maybe later I would have mercy on him when I myself have been shown mercy before, after, and during this little life I've lived. The pain of his plea for mercy wrapped itself tightly around my heart and squeezed- not so that I would show him mercy, but because my very life depended on it as much as his own did.
The day afer I met this man, I read in Luke 18 where a blind man calls to Jesus: Son of David! Have mercy on me! He asks this even after he has been silenced by the crowds. Jesus turns to him and asks what he wants. He says: I want to see.
I find myself sitting on a street, in rags, unable to see. And I call to a Humble King: have mercy on me! I want to see again! I want the sight to know what matters. I want to know how to see so that I can truly love others. Give me vision so that I can see You.
Who wouldn't want to see such goodness as belongs to Him?
Who wouldn't be willing to give what is in both hands if it meant seeing Him more clearly? I pray for mercy that I might be such a woman.
And we are still caught in this place of waiting, asking for mercy.
Finding that while we sit and wait, we learn to see. While we lean on the cane of our insecurities and inability to trust, we find what keeps us from hope. And peace.
This is a mercy. To see what keeps us from sight.
Image taken from Pinterest, but orignally comes from: www.etsy.comlisting71605280happy-life
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Have you heard THIS song by Laura Story?
Right now, I think it's our theme song.
And the other day I thought: I've been praying that He would have mercy on us.
What if this is His mercy?
What is this?
the waiting...the quiet...the dreaming...the longing...the hoping...
I have to believe it is.
**the print came from 517 Creations. Click to get the free printable!
Friday, July 15, 2011
The other day Bela said to me: I don't make you laugh like I used to. You don't write about it anymore.
I corrected him and said: That's not true, I just don't write them down anymore so I forget and then, well, they don't make the blog.
I mean, look at this picture!!! How can I not laugh at that face? Every time I need a laugh, I just think about this photo and I chuckle...
And then, there was the other day when we had this conversation.
Let me set it up for you.
We were getting into the car. The hot car. On a hot day. I was driving and Bela said: Can you PLEASE turn up the air conditioning?
I said: Yes, but why didn't you wear shorts? It's so hot out!!!
He said: My legs aren't hot, my head is!
Truth is, and I'm sure you know this well, that when you're stuck in a place like we are, even the little things that make one laugh are a mercy.
Especially that photo.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I love this photo of my little niece feeding my little girl.
The way they are looking at each other.
The tiny hand, unaccustomed to holding a bottle, and yet successfully giving what is needed.
Baby, trusting and believing that this other little one will care for her...will see the feeding through until the end.
Beauty exists here.
Even in those so little.
I feel like that tiny one, looking to my God, trusting and believing that He will care for us...will see this through until the end.
Because His mercies are new each day.
Beauty exists here.
Posted by April at 9:52 AM
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
My last post wasn't really about gardening, so I hope the title didn't scare anyone away.
What I was really trying to write about, find my way to, was mercy.
And here I am again, learning mercy.
A primary definition of mercy is to show compassion or leniency.
It's also a blessing as a divine favor.
Or compassion shown to those in distress.
Augustine said that mercy is: "ever ancient, ever new."
And the Bible's authors back up these understandings of mercy:
Psalm 40:11: LORD, don't hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
Lamentations 3:22&23: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
We can't find work.
We being, primarily, my husband.
In this economy, that isn't a surprise.
But such understanding doesn't make the burden any lighter.
Or the toll it takes on one's spirit or self worth easier.
We knew, when we decided to move to the states from Romania, that this would not be an easy road to walk.
But, we had walked difficult roads before.
And, having worked among our friends who were poor, we thought we understood mercy.
I'm not sure we knew, though, how much we would need it.
I was talking to a friend the other day and she said that she'd been talking to her husband about this sort of a slump they found themselves in...just a general malaise that they were feeling.
She said she thought a lot of it had to do with the struggle just to make ends meet and that we, our generation, didn't really know what that meant until now.
And that can be depressing.
Feeling the noose of no extra money is a tight place to be.
It made me think of the 'extras' that we do have...maybe even tiny pieces of mercy, benevolence, compassion that make what can be bought with money worthless.
I'm not saying that I wouldn't love a job. I'm not even saying that it wouldn't be nice to have our own place or buy a second car or a new outfit.
I'm just realizing that true mercies are what truly make life worth living.
Today, these are my mercies as I see them:
~a cool evening breeze in summmer.
~mountains still standing tall and glorious.
~groves of orange trees
~my husband's hand
~my baby's sigh
~my sister's call
~dinner with friends
~remembering: He is closer than the air I breathe.
My next several posts will be about mercy and peace in the midst of so much living.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Several weeks ago I posted about the garden we were beginning by planting tiny starts. If you missed that post, click HERE
It is with deep regret that I now post the failure of our garden.
In fact, it is not only a failure, but a graveyard.
I have to say, that those little pots full of nothing feel a little like our lives right now.
That isn't to say that we haven't been incredibly blessed. Every day we look into the face of our baby girl and are reminded of what JOY is.
But look at this photo:
Once upon a time tomato plant grew here. One morning, Bela went out to water it. That afternoon, it was completely gone. Nothing left but the little stand that was holding it high.
A gopher ripped it (if one can rip from beneath something)completely gone. As if it had never existed.
And I had to say: this too, God?
We can't keep even one measly tomato plant?
What is one supposed to do when seeds are planted in faith, watered in love, anticipated with joy...and then,
What is hope supposed to do?
With all the hope that is in me, right now, I'm begging for mercy.
Because a couple of those little seeds did make it. Tenacious, they clung to life in the California heat.
And one tomato plant hasn't disappeared. It's even bearing fruit.
It seems that it's what hangs on when hope hasn't disappeared.