Tuesday, August 25, 2009

At the Mercy...

My friend Sam Baker releases his third CD today. It's titled Cotton and you should pick it up as soon as you can. I hope you've heard Sam's previous two releases, Mercy and Pretty World, because he considers all three part of one good work - he calls it The Mercy Trilogy. Sam knows something about mercy. He was on a train in Peru in 1986 when a bomb, placed by a terrorist political group known as Shining Path, exploded in his car. Everyone Sam was traveling with died that day. He suffered life-ending injuries - but lived instead - to tell the story. I am glad the story has emerged as mercy. I've wondered, in the five years I've known Sam, how an experience like his might have grown inside me. As hate? Fear? Helplessness? Surrender to evil? A waking nightmare? Would there have been one moment after that day in 1986 in which I might have imagined this big ol' goofy place we inhabit as a pretty world, as Sam has so beautifully done in the title song from his last CD? It's hard for me to believe I have that kind of Spirit of Wholeness inside me. I tend to find conspiracy to make me unhappy in everything from traffic jams to empty milk cartons... How does a person walk into each day with a memory like Sam's and walk out with a song?
God is in every face we meet - and not just in every face - in every plank of cedar that's tacked to the outside of our houses, in the rosemary that grows in the yard. The question then becomes: how can I learn not to turn away? - Sam Baker
Learning not to turn away... How much might I learn if I stopped turning away from what's difficult in this world? I'm betting it's possible mercy lingers there. Peace.

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