Mercy, mercy me!

 

20140308_043253Maybe it’s my Polish Catholic upbringing, but the themes of forgiveness and mercy are showing up in the books I choose to read. And a glance at the magazines near the supermarket checkout would lead us to believe we have much to forgive. Whether it’s how to be a better parent or spouse or cook or lover, our culture says we are doing it all wrong. We need to work harder to correct our ways.

I’m all for self-improvement – to a point. The older I get, the closer that point is to where I am today: human, imperfect and perfectly okay. Self-blame is corrosive and saps our energy. I’m encouraged by the recent upsurge in magazines about simple living and authors who advocate getting rid of self-doubt.

All this may explain why I related to Dorothea Benton Frank’s 2005 novel, Pawley’s Island.  When artist Rebecca Simms loses custody of her children to her cheating husband, her self-esteem is already at rock bottom. She judges herself harshly for simple mistakes until a retired female attorney with her own guilty conscience comes to her rescue and learns to forgive herself in the process.

Often, it’s our friends we turn to when our self-image needs a boost. I count on women who have known me for decades or just a year to remind me I’m worthy of love, despite my mistakes. They teach me that mercy is for everyone, including me. They have also, on occasion, come up with some good solutions for knotty problems, but only when I ask. Most of us, most of the time, can figure things out for ourselves. We just want our pals to be there, cheering us on through the sticky parts.

What about you? Have your friends helped you navigate those days when you wanted to pull the covers back over your head? I’d love to hear about it. This time next month, I’ll randomly pick one person who comments to receive my copy of Pawley’s Island.

And speaking of next month, come see me and a bunch of other writers on Sunday,  October 15th at the Prallsville Mill  in Stockton, New Jersey, for River Reads. Lots of fun – wine, crepes, readings, signings and workshops!

 

13 thoughts on “Mercy, mercy me!

  1. The Prallsville Mill event sounds great (alas, I have a previous commitment). I’ll post it on the Room at the Table Facebook page. Lots of local writers/readers there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have two friends that I have known for more than 45 years. They have been my rock, always there when I need someone to confide in, always supportive, and never judgmental. They have cheered me on through difficult work situations and were truly excited and happy for my successes. No jealousy ever. They were there through the years of my daughter’s illness. Even if we didn’t speak for weeks on end I knew they would be on the other end of the phone any time I called. Notes and cards came regularly to give me strength. In days of tragedy both were securely at my side to hold me up and keep me going. Even though many years have passed, they still remember those painful days with a card or note. They have expressed gratitude for what they have learned from me but actually it is me who has learned so much from them and I am eternally grateful and blessed to have them in my life.

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  3. Mercy and sisterhood are topics I relate to, Linda. Thanks for sharing the book and the subjects. Women have always been vital to understanding myself, and models for my growth. Story Circle Network is a great group and has kept me in touch with my writer-self through many ups and downs. I’m so grateful for you and all of SCN, and for the steadfast women who are my sisters and friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Depends on the day. Also the friends. And whether I want help navigating or want a pity party. Actually, I don’t think of myself as throwing pity parties. I am aware of justified anger, though, usually relatedto technical situations beyond my control. I have to admit that Eddie McPuppers helps me as much as some humans, though SCN women help more.

    Lynn
    http://www.writeradvice.com.

    “What about you? Have your friends helped you navigate those days when you wanted to pull the covers back over your head? I’d love to hear about it. This time next month, I’ll randomly pick one person who comments to receive my copy of Pawley’s Island.”

    Liked by 1 person

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