Thursday, May 19, 2011

"For Good" --music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

For many months I have struggled with the concepts of forgiveness and justice: specifically, how does one mete out one without in some way disregarding the other?

It's been nothing short of a personal moral conundrum.

But recent events have put this one in perspective for me.

I have always been a "justice" person. Hell, on the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I epitomized the very definition of an ENFJ. (If you don't know what that is, look it up, you lazy bastard! I am not here to do your research for you!) In any event, I have always believed that actions carried 'just' and 'proportionate' consequences, and--bluntly--that mercy was for saps or fools who insisted on being walked all over. I mean, Jesus specialized in mercy, and look what happened to Him! No thanks...

I don't think I need to point out here that my views on mercy were, at best, skewed, and, at worst, profoundly off-base. For those more astute readers (and those who'd like to pretend to be) I think I also don't have to point out that my aversion to mercy was likely a desperate cry to remedy the lack of it in my own life. But that's another story for another day.

In today's story, I have to admit I am learning a little bit about mercy. Mostly, that I need it. Badly.

In the past few weeks, I have hurt many people. Now wounded and left in my wake, these people were unfortunate casualties of life changes I have been attempting. I see this. I have no idea how to rectify this. I need mercy.

Like the child on the playground with his hands pinned behind his back, I know I am screaming it at the top of my lungs. "Mercy! Mercy!" But unlike that child, I don't deserve it.

Divine mercy, I know, is a gift freely given. I may still have absolutely no concept of what that means (and I don't, for the record, know what in the hell that means), but I'm not sure that really matters. Because what I need right now is not divine mercy, but people mercy...

And I'm not sure that I'm going to get it.

If it were me, I likely wouldn't give it.

When Poe penned his masterpiece, "The Pit and the Pendulum," I wonder if his opium-induced brilliance ever conceived that the precariously-placed swinging blade might well be a woman--this woman--pitching to and fro on frayed and time-worn ropes, ready at any moment to plunge headlong into endless blackness, eviscerating any innocent throat on this path of macabre destruction?

My guess would be no.

But he'd be right if he had.

...

I am making changes. God willing, I am changing. It's a process. And I suck at it. So I am going to go...After all, I think that's what you want me to do. And who am I to tell you otherwise? I don't deserve the last word.

But if, before you walk away, you grant me one last sentence, please know the sentence would be this one: "I was wrong, and I am sorry."
If you grant me two, then the second is this: "If you could find it in you to show me mercy, I think I could be changed for good."

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