“Just you wait till your father comes home.” Those words, spoken by mother, were not just whirling through my brain, but they were very heavy on my heart and in my stomach. All my youthful 7th-grade energy was gone. I sat on the ground outside of the back porch, shoulders slumped over, sobbing, and crying desiring for all this to be all over. I kept retracing my steps, thinking to myself, “If, if,… if I just had not done that, if I had just shot away from the house, if I had just not even gotten that pellet gun out, to begin with!” At this point, I knew there was no way out of receiving what was due me. I was so upset that I didn’t even know how to say I was sorry. Why would my father even believe that I was sorry for what I had done? Except for a nearby bird happily singing and the distant sound of a barking dog, I seemed to be all alone in the silence of my circumstance. Then, I heard it, the symbolic sound of impending justice that would include sentencing and execution, my father’s 1953, green and white, Ford Falcon coming up the hill.
Without being able to see the front yard I knew exactly where he parked because he always parked there. Without seeing him open the front door with his left hand, I knew he did, because he was left-handed. My father was a very predictable man.
Sitting there in the back yard, I tried to be as still and quiet as possible. I was hoping for one, that perhaps I would be forgotten, lost to my family in the backyard forever. This seemed to me, at the moment, to be a considerable option. However, I opted for the chance to hear the conversation that would seal my fate. I strained with all my might, in hopes, that by some chance I could hear through those wooden walls. But the sound of that bird, and that dog, wherever he was, seemed to be as loud as a clashing symbol and a big bass drum.
Sitting cross-legged, with my face hidden in my hands, I heard the sound of the back screen door squeaking as it opened. I feared not look up, so as not to be consumed by the dreadful sight of my angry father. I was so familiar with the sound of his footsteps that I did not need to lift my head, I knew it was him standing there in front of me, I could even feel his presence. “Here it comes”, I thought, but there was silence, I don’t even remember hearing that bird or that dog, just silence.
Then my father said, “what did you do?” As if he didn’t know? With the quivering, crying voice, which I assumed resembled that of a young girl at that moment, still with my face in my hands, I confessed to what I had done. My dad then crawled under the house to inspect the damage I had inflicted upon the pipe. He grunted some as he crawled backward from under the house then stood up and said “Come get in the car with me.” At that point, my mind began going to wild places. I could feel the blood rushing through my veins, I could hear the beating of my heart in my ears. You see in the culture I was raised in it was acceptable to take dogs that had become a nuisance, like ones that got into the eggs or killed chickens, off of the farm. Where the dogs were taken, or what happened to them, us kids were never told… but there were rumors! I walked slowly to the car, as though I had shackles on my ankles.
I don’t much remember the drive, but we ended up at the Bayou George hardware store on highway 231. Not to belabor the story, here is what happened next. My father bought a section of PVC pipe, a coupling, PVC pipe cleaner, and glue. We drove back to the house and it is there where my father showed me mercy as he taught me the correct way to repair the damage I had done. My circumstance had been changed by my father’s mercy.
What I should have received for my disobedience and the collateral damage I had caused, he didn’t give me, instead, he exhibited compassion, an act from my father that I have never forgotten.
The Bible tells us that God shows us compassion, mercy. We, who are deserving to receive the wrath of God for our transgressions- Hell, have been granted mercy that only the Father can grant. That is of course if we are truly born again.
As believers, God has shown mercy to us while we were in a most dire circumstance, disobedient, lost, and attempting to repair the ravages of sin in our strength. What joy that should bring us! Even now, as frail humans, we sin. However, God’s Mercy is new every morning.
The Mercy of God is something we should daily meditate on, rejoice in, and give thanks for. “Our sins they are many, His Mercy is more!” (Keith & Kristyn Getty)
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:8-14)