Traveling Mercies.

traveling mercies

So… I have opened this book and closed it several times in the past few years.  I remember the night I acquired it… a book swap at Amanda’s House.  I was intrigued by it and knew I should leave with at least the number of books I brought to swap… even if I would never read it.  I opened it, read the first section and think ‘I don’t think I love this’.  About a week ago I restarted this book.  I have no idea what kept me from finishing before, but have a pretty firm belief that I was not ready for this book.  I was not ready for this real and very parallel walk through someone else’s life and journey, someone else’s living and learning and knowing and believing… someone else’s carrying of God and truths on their life and faith.

I feel a strong connection to this story… me- a conservative, ‘safeish’ and not supremely feminist girl who did not grow up in any part of the same times or structure.  I get her journey.  I feel that she has defined in words much of mine.  Having read this I would define life as a series of travelling mercies and I didn’t even know that was a term before.  Mercy being a kind or compassionate act… in a way a show of God.  Her book is a story full of those travelling mercies… things that helped her find herself… helped her help others and showed her that God is there and He loves us all.

I love her writing style.  I love her bluntness.  I love her real.  This is what makes me feel sane in a way… much of my life I share the ways that I know God is there, God is great and how he shows me.  Like her, these aren’t always what we ask for and often are not the easiest ‘fix’ for the situation.  Honestly though… I am often reminded when the world doesn’t work out the way I planned that there was something different and more important or better there instead.  I see this pattern repeated so often.

Anne Lamott writes about her car breaking down on her way to see a friends mother before she passed away… how her car broke down and it was days before she could be there.  The day she made it was the day her friend needed her most… her mother passed away and she was able to be there.  Did God make her car break down (just a little) to get her there at the best moment?  I don’t know for sure… but I think that is the way He works.  Free will lets us go in our ways and make our own choices… but I think the Big Guy has a hand in those outcomes and he gets us right where we need to be, when we need to be there.

Madeline died 5 days after diagnosis.  In those 5 days we lived… it was hard.  So much of the world sent us referals and ideas and plans and doctors with ‘new’ treatments.  We could have been in NYC at Sloan getting her a second opinion instead of painting pottery, visiting ice castles and being together.  We could have been very far away from Amelia and Lucy on February 8, 2012.  I believe that God kept us together.  I believe that Madeline’s days happened exactly the way that they were supposed to… and although there were only 5 days they were spent the best way we could have.  I also believe that God would have put some hard things (cars breaking down, hospitals not having appointments) into our time if we had veered from His plan…

I just wanted to share this book with you all.  It has helped me very much.  I feel that she has written many of the thoughts my mind throws around all day and night.  It is a great read.  You will laugh, cry and feel many things… you will get her take on faith and all she knows and all she has learned.  I would recommend it to you 🙂


One thought on “Traveling Mercies.

  1. Every time I hear the term “traveling mercies,” I think of my dad. Growing up in Wyoming, school was 50 miles south and church was 25 miles north. As a pastor, my dad would pray regularly for “traveling mercies” for each of us as we went to school (and also for us after we left home to take on the world), for those in his congregation, for those who would visit. It’s funny how a phrase, song, smell, or whatever can be so closely identified with the memory of one you love.


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