I’ve often noticed that when some people are in the throws of depression, everything around them is a mess. Their car, home, finances and their appearance are often disheveled, at best. I know this was the case for me. My car was littered with debris and I would reason it away by thinking that I was far too important and busy to be bothered with it. I never invited people over because the thought of organizing my home enough for company was far more than I could bare. I remember being exacerbated at one point as I cried out, “WHY CANT THINGS JUST BE CLEAN?!” While I tried to convince myself that I was talking about the spaces that I occupied, I clearly meant the space that occupied me. My heart, mind, and soul were just a mess.
We spend a fair amount of time trying to convince ourselves and each other that life is black and white. That there are rigid definitions for right and wrong. Once we possess these magical set of rules, that our lives will be easier and if we follow those to the letter. That we will have a clean slate. There are a few problems with this scenario: reality, human involvement and mercy.
Life is messy. It’s an old adage and may sound cliché but it is true! We are not God, nor do any of us possess the ability to see the future (sorry to all of you Sylvia Browne lovers). You can spend your time on earth trying to control every aspect of your life, relationships, and interactions but the truth of the matter is that you will simply end up miserable. I personally have never been more anxiety ridden and depressed than when I tried to control everything.
Lets face it, when humans get involved with anything it almost immediately has the potential to go sideways. Ego, immaturity, societal expectations, and garden variety human behavior pollutes our good intentions, often times making them ugly.
For people who want to control life by keeping it clean, mercy is a problem. Many believe in justified retribution. That if “this” doesn’t = “that” then punishment should be “this”. Mercy and especially God’s mercy doesn’t work that way. Mercy provides grace to anyone regardless of their offenses. It requires allowing space in your heart to empathize with the brokenness inside another human being, even in the face of some horrific things. In my own experience, mercy was extended to me which gave my the capacity to grant it to others and it has done nothing but enrich my life. It takes a willingness to want to reshape everything that you thought you knew about the world but in the end it is a game changer. Even, dare I say, a life changer. So try it. Even for one week. Try to give pure mercy and understanding to people who rub you the wrong way or derail your plans. Instead of trying to fix or control all things, show some understanding and that same sentiment will be returned to you triple fold.