"November is the most disagreealbe month in the whole year, said Margaret, standing at the window one dull afternoon, looking out at the frost-bitten garden."
by Louisa May Alcott
One man's story of fighting for justice and the life lessons he learned through his work spoke to me. Bryan Stevenson in the book "Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice" fought for minorities, children, and the disabled, devoting his life to seeking justice for those our justice system has failed and were wrongly imprisoned. In his work he experienced how the effects of our self-righteousness, fear and anger have imprisoned our hearts from giving compassion and forgiveness to others. Our fallen nature has broken this world and in turn it breaks us, all of us. He says,
"I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness. Embracing our brokenness creates a desire for mercy, and perhaps a need to show mercy to others, too. When you experience mercy, you begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us."
If I didn't understand the plight of humanity or the reality of our world I would miss opportunities to extend compassion and forgiveness. Bryan goes on to say, "...that even as we are caught in a web of hurt and brokenness, we're also in a web of healing and mercy."
I recognize that sometimes life is not fair, good people die too soon.
I can't control everything, especially a loose dog.
I know that although shadows are cast over the earth, light still shines down from the heavens.
I understand that this invisible virus threatens the present, but threats to our livelihood have been and will continue to be causes for concern.
Do we want to be caught in the web of hurt and brokenness? Or do we want to weave within it healing and mercy?
Only in embracing the brokenness can we truly find hope for healing. Compassion will heal hearts, time will heal wounds, eventually the light will consume the shadows or in the darkness light will shine brightest.
I find that this life seems to be a series of paradoxes. November began with pain and despair but ends with hope. Hope for better times ahead. Hope for a holiday season filled with expectation and joy. Hurt and brokenness will continue to be weaved into our stories but the hope for healing and mercy, compassion and forgiveness will always be present too.
In the novel "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott chapter 15 began with the quote at the beginning of this post. Chapter 15 ends with this:
"Be comforted, dear soul! There is always light behind the clouds."
P.S. Some kitten cuteness and November highlights below: