lord have mercy

“We hurt others when we have been hurt. What we hate in others is what we hate in ourselves. Nobody is wholly good or bad. Nothing is in a vacuum.” I am a broken record with these words. I imagine I drive people crazy with it sometimes. I drive myself crazy. Trapped in an erratic and confusing ping pong cycle of trying to honor my truth and experience without losing sight of someone else’s whole entirety that does not include me. I don’t know how to entertain anger and grace at the same time. Maybe that is the point?

I have so much grace and compassion for Parent A. I hurt, I ache for them. I deserve no humanitarian awards for this – it is so easy for me to feel this way. It requires no effort or growth on my part and I imagine most of you would feel the same way if you knew.

Parent B? I feel anger. I feel disgust. Contempt. Frustration. Rage. When I hear from or about them I am often unable to steel myself against the guttural scoff that escapes.How could you? What have you done? This is all your fault. Yeah, right. How dare you. From where I stand I cannot find a redemptive path.

Thank God I am not God.

They are undeserving of my understanding and forgiveness.

And yet. That’s it, isn’t it? That’s the thing. Of course they are undeserving. So am I. So are you. (Don’t shoot the messenger.) That is mercy, that is grace, that is forgiveness. It’s messy and complicated and heartbreaking and beautiful. I cannot hold back until someone proves themselves. Grace is not a trophy for redemption – it IS the redemption.

We love boxes. Neat, orderly. Tidy. We like black and white. We try to tie everything up in a nice, pretty bow. But the damned truth of the matter is that there are no good people and evil people. We are just people with nice bits and not so nice bits battling it out inside of us every second of our grey lives. Do not be mistaken – whatever good I am able to put out into this world is not there to counteract the bad created by Parent B, or anybody else. My good is about my bad, my evil. My disgrace. God’s mercy.

Unfortunately, I’m not done fucking up. If I live a long life then I’ve barely even started. But I’m not done fixing up either. There is redemption for them, because it’s there for me too. We hurt others because we have been hurt. And on and on it goes. We just gotta keep trying.

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