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Calling For Mercy

the word mercy written in pen in a notebook plus yellow ribbon

If I had a daughter, I might have named her Mercy.

Mercy’s a good name, a strong name, and while I’m not certain of many things, I am certain we need more mercy in the world.

One of my sons is named Justas. It’s the Lithuanian version of Justin, and, back in the old country, they’d pronounce it “Eustace” but we’re in America so we go with the hard J and a dollop of the Pledge of Allegiance with a hint of the prison door clang.

I’ve spent most of the past 20 years saying the word “Justas” a hundred times a day. I never tire of it.

But when it came to naming my other son, I tried for Prosper (and Chance) but eventually arrived at strong and simple: Samuel, the last of the ruling judges in the Old Testament. It turned out to be the right choice. My red-headed brilliant boy stands out enough in this world. He didn’t need to have his name stand out, too. (But I gave him a unique middle name, in case he ever did want that spotlight. Moms are always thinking ahead.)

And perhaps there is no right, just what is.

Maybe Mercy will be the name for my next dog. With age, I’ve warmed to the idea of opening the door and calling out loud for mercy. My 20-year-old self would have been too proud to do that, and my 40-year-old self was just too darn stubborn.

But maybe I’m ready now to ask for mercy. And maybe, all along, she has been waiting to come running when I call.

Maybe she’ll come when you call, too. Open the back door. Raise your voice above a whisper. You might be surprised.