Mercy Street

It was a sound that shot straight through me. It was a keening cry of fear…

I had entered the grocery store to pick up a few items, but my heart and mind were preoccupied. My spirit was already raw and bleeding, and unprepared for what happened next.

A little girl, maybe seven or eight years old, was being forcibly carried/dragged through the aisle toward the exit. The mother was visibly angry…no, pissed off and embarrassed by her daughter. I have no idea just what could have happened to cause such a scene, but people nearby were frozen in their tracks, not wanting to stare but unable to turn away.

The moment was more than likely just that; a mere moment. But it felt like an eternity as mother and daughter struggled. I could see the mother forcing gritty words through gritted teeth, but I couldn’t catch their sound. There was no way to hear, as the girl’s cries drowned out everything else, literally begging…

“I’ll be good, Momma…I promise! Please don’t…please don’t!”

It was a hard sight, but a terrible sound…the sound of heartbreak, as a little girl was begging and pleading her momma for mercy.

My hands and heart were trembling as I shuffled through the store. My mind raced back to all the times I cried out as a child, lost and lonely in seeming abandonment. To the times of seeing fists fly in rage against an elder sibling, his punishment far exceeding the crime. To the times of fear and shame for things beyond my understanding and control.

I remember all the sounds all too well…every single one.

The Easter season reminds us that the cost of mercy is paid with bruises and blood.

Her cries echoed as they neared the exit, and then faded away, replaced by bland music and in-store announcements, and the beating of my bruised and bleeding heart.

Have mercy…