“It is a weeping, and a moaning, and a gnashing of the teeth” is the opening line in Kanye West’s “Mercy”. It describes my experience with giving birth and the tougher parts of parenthood perfectly. I’m 100% ‘P’ POSITIVE that the song has NOTHING to do with birthing babes… but imma use it to open up this blog y’all.
Mercy is a heavy word. The connotation immediately begs reverence. Maybe you define it in a religious context: a merciful God who pardons your sins. Maybe you view it in relationship to those that have done wrong. Maybe you see it as your altruistic duty towards others that you don’t know, but know have less than you. Examine for a second what mercy means to you.
As I look at my brand new baby girl, the term mercy has a whole new meaning for me. Just being pregnant was an act of mercy. I HATED BEING PREGNANT. I know there are those women that #LOVEDIT, but that was not me. The fact that I didn’t scowl at my daughter when she came into the world after 24 hours of labor might be the most merciful thing ever. JK, I was so over joyed I could barf (thank the Gods I didn’t!)… but you get the idea.
Every day my husband and I wake up at 11pm, 2am, 5am, 7am and then stay awake all day to care for this creature who is 100% dependent on us. We are sleep deprived, un-showered, untimely, unkempt and we are almost always hungry. Our time is 10% focused on ourselves and 90% on this sweet little being that cannot thank us, cannot help us and probably will never know what it took to keep her alive. Many nights I stay up weeping just thinking about the miracle of life and how, without the love of your parents/ caregivers, you wouldn’t have made it past the first day. To care for this person who can potentially NEVER give anything back to me is the purest act of love and mercy I have ever experienced.
I give my daughter mercy when I choose her needs over mine. I bestow mercy on her when she poops on me, when she cries mercilessly in the middle of the night with no regard to my lack of sleep. I give her mercy when she pees all over the changing table and giggles as I had JUST put a new diaper under her. I dish out mercy on her when I don’t get angry or upset as she pukes in my hair, or spits up on my brand new shirt. I forgive her for changing my body forever, I actually love what she has helped it become, but nonetheless it is something I had to let go of in order to have her. The thing about this kind of mercy though, is it is thoughtless. I love her so much, it is without question that I forgive her and even laugh off her small infractions. I even LIKE when she does them because I know I’m helping her become the person she is meant to be. In some strange and beautiful way, she’s helping me become the person I am meant to be too.
Cut to everyone else. You cut me off at the green light? I flip you the bird. You talk about me behind my back. I shun you. You wrong me in any way, and bitch hold my hoops as I take off my press ons to slap you!… Ok, I don’t have any press ons or hoops, but you get the idea. We are products of merciful acts. We are born to be treated with mercy, and thus we should know how to dish it out.
What if we treated everyone like we do newborns? Staring at each other with unconditional love and understanding? What if we could see past our mistakes and our wrong doings and forgive each other for being human… that which we all are? What would the world be like if we fought hate with love, ignorance with awareness and cruelty with kindness? I guarantee you the world would be a better place.
Look into your life this week as we practice our Yama: Daya or Mercy. Where have refused to see another person as your equal? Where have you shunned someone, when you could see how you have done the exact same thing at some point in your life? Could you accept forgiveness for someone when you realize forgiving them will help someone forgive you later on? We were all infants once, we have all made mistakes, we are all human and we all fall from grace. Practice mercy over malice this week and see how it shifts your world.