You know you’re in trouble when at 30, you resonate with a graduation speech. But whatever. It was good. I’m over it. My graduation speeches were all about taking on the world and getting what we want with a little hard work. Typical sky is the limit kind of crap. Maybe society has learned a thing or two or maybe it’s the unemployment rate, but I noticed all the speeches at Matt’s (youngest brother, best human ever) ceremony were about how hard life is. How there won’t be answers and signs for every decision you have to make. How trials should be expected. One speaker quoted Bonhoeffer ( I can’t tell you how much it bothers me to talk about him on here twice in one month. Does it help that I know it’s lame?). When we look at the road of life, “Where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we will have to go to Jesus, for only He knows the journey’s end. But we do know it will be a road of boundless mercy.”
I thought about that word, mercy, for the rest of the graduation and on into the weekend. Really, Jesus has boundless mercy on me and my future? Why the hell am I so merciless toward myself? Why do I heap so much pressure on to my career choices, relationships, bank account, body, and timeline? What would it look like to treat myself with mercy? The dictionary defines mercy as compassion and forbearance, which literally means to hold back, do without, and leave alone. Could I hold back on the self-berating while staring at the perfect looking girl sitting in the row in front of me? She is 22, half Asian and 5’9. You aren’t. Let it go. Could I have mercy on my career and the age for which I want everything to fall into place? Could I look out at my future and rest in the fact that Jesus is waiting with boundless mercy, not words like, “Get it together” “Work harder” and “Hot girls don’t eat bagels.” Although, I’m pretty sure that last one is true. Jesus is kind and patient towards me and what I do with my days. Mercy isn’t just reserved for sin. He uses it on us even when we are trying our best and feel we are coming up short.
I know I’m not the only one. Most of us are pretty hard on ourselves. What about you? Could you use mercy on when you meet a spouse, establish a career, or lose 10 lbs.? How about compassion on how you raise your kids, battle depression, or decorate your home? I’d love it if you’d think about finishing the sentence “I’d have mercy on my________” in a comment.