The Quality of Mercy

There’s beauty in the hopeful

I hold my first son’s hand

Now there are things that I want him to know

But I hope he never understands

—Matthew Ryan

I rarely see my neighbor across the street, though his television is so big I can watch his movies from my living room if he leaves his blinds up. And usually by this point in the evening his windows are dark, but tonight I looked out over there and saw a candle burning on the front sill.

I hope your god has mercy on mine.

My husband came home after a long day at work and fell asleep on the couch. I covered him with a blanket and went to feed the pets, thinking, there is nothing on earth as strong as this love, nothing. What would I ever do if he didn’t come home?

I hope your god has mercy on mine.

I don’t think any of us, save those who have been to war themselves, can understand what havoc we began to wreak 1,000 American soldier deaths ago. These numbers don’t take into account those who are wounded, those who are bruised and destroyed but outwardly unharmed, those who are not Americans. I don’t know what kind of self-inflicted blindness it takes not to see this war as a terrible thing, done for terrible reasons which we coudn’t even sustain our own belief in for a year, much less a lifetime.

I hope your god has mercy on mine.

This war has destroyed too many lives. That, after two years of lies and destruction, is the only thing I’m certain of anymore.

A.