January 10, 2011


I’ve been home for 153 days, 5 hours, and 21 minutes.  I was gone for 719 days.  It’s hard, still, this transition back into home life. 

These days, I can’t stand overhead lights.  I have a closet full of clothes and yet I live out of a laundry basket, because there are only a few things that I need, so there are only a few things that I wear, and those are what get washed and reworn.  I crave foods that never used to be a regular part of my diet.  And I always wear socks now, or slippers, when I used to be a barefoot girl through and through. 

Being home is sometimes a little lonely.  I miss my friends.  I miss the people who understand the experience, who can relate, who don’t just try to affect a sympathetic mien and be socially sensitive to the person who recently got out of prison.  I feel socially awkward.  I feel like, despite the TIME magazine subscription, I have missed two years of news, current events, and technological advances, and because of that I feel somewhat irrelevant and a lot out of touch.  It’s nice – more than nice! – to be with the people that I love.  My husband, my children – I would choose them over every other person in the world.  It’s great to relate to my brother as an adult and get to know his lovely wife.  But I really do miss my friends.

Maybe other people just slip back into life, put it on like a familiar cloak, wear it well and easily. Mine doesn’t seem to fit right. So together my husband and I are talking about those things, refitting, stretching, taking in.  He is so incredibly understanding about it all, which puzzles me.  How can he be so understanding, when I don’t understand it myself?

This morning at breakfast, Ladybug and Wild Thing were debating how God gets to heaven, and if he needs a spaceship.  Wild Thing finally determined that “He can just fly to heaven, because God is magic.”

While I’m not sure I agree with the theological premise of God being magic, I understand the sentiment.  I don’t understand how God works, either.  Or why he does the things he does.  But when I take the time to recognize his handiwork, it’s always breathtaking, delightful, and, well, magical

There are days when I struggle with this new life, when I struggle with the “re” of it all: the restarting, the renovating, the repairing.  I’m tempted at times to give it up and start over, create a new “me” entirely to hide the past.  But I don’t want to deny God’s redemptive work.  When I share about the changes that I experienced during incarceration, people look at me in blank amazement. Because they can’t really grasp it. It’s hard to believe that God can take something devastating and ugly and ruinous and bring beauty and maturity and life and renewed hope and deeper relationship with loved ones.

I’m not advocating the situation. But our Magician God can bring good out of it! Like reaching into a pile of garbage and bringing not just one amazing thing out of it (because that could be pure luck, coincidence, right?), but dozens of amazing, lovely, delightful, magical things.

I don’t have to understand it.  Having it all worked out in my head isn’t as important as living it well here and now.  And I guess that’s the challenge, isn’t it? To live well, to live fully, to embrace life without fear and apprehension, to let go of shame and embrace grace, to walk away from guilt and grief and to embrace mercy and gladness.  It’s a tall order.  But I’m not here on my own. 

Yes, Wild Thing, look around you: marvel at the mountains and be awed by the moon.  Consider the ocean and listen to the wind.  Then look at humanity—look at your mother!—and see: God is magic, indeed. 


Laura McCann said...

So glad you are home. So glad to be privy to your world. It always makes me happy to see a new post from Mercy!

Have a great and blessed day, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mercy,
I loved your words: "It’s hard to believe that God can take something devastating and ugly and ruinous and bring beauty and maturity and life and renewed hope and deeper relationship with loved ones." As a much older woman, this is the truth that gets me up some mornings. Some life events can be so 'alone' no matter who is with you on the journey. It can seem like magic to look back and see the redemption of our God. He is so faithful to His promises.

Jamie said...

Mercy, always glad to hear from you! Keep posting! Jamie

Aster said...

We all have a story to tell. If Jesus himself began with "There once was a man..." why also can't we? The greatest story we have is the one that He writes in our lives. Keep telling it!

Lori said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, Mercy.