Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

By Mandy Cloninger

Picture your best friend with his or her arm twisted around the back writhing in pain. Straining and struggling against the pressure and force. Pushing and pressing. Squirming but unwilling to relent or give up.

What might your advice to him or her be?

I bet it would be kind, warm, loving. It would likely offer mercy.

Webster’s actually offers three ways of defining mercy:

1. kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly

2. kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation

3. a good or lucky fact or situation

Each of the definitions has a gentleness that sometimes I think we only offer to others, and not necessarily ourselves.

When I scream out, “Mercy,” it is typically after I have exhausted every other possible option. It’s like the end of a wrestling match, and I’m pinned in a way that I cannot escape, and the only option is mercy, surrender.

Micah 6:8 instructs the way to love God and to love others:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micha 6:8
  • Love mercy.
  • Love kindness.
  • Love forgiveness.
  • Love help.

It is both an inward and an outward call to action. How we respond to our God, how we treat ourselves and how we serve and love others.

Mercy and meadows is a creative mantra — a call to action and adventure. 

As I brainstormed names for this writing project, I wanted to capture the feeling of surrender, the ease that I find in nature. I also adore alliteration.

This year is a year of creation for me. Creating something new. Mercy and meadows calls me to consider how mercy shows up in my life and this grand adventure. 

My youngest daughter’s name is Luna Waverly, which means the moon and meadows. She really lives into her namesake: a night owl guided by the moonlight and happiest outdoors. We often take the moon for a walk (if you’ve read this book, you’ll get the reference, if not, check it out: I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis).

And honestly, three Ms: the moon, mercy and meadows, seemed like too much alliteration.

I was reminded in a wonderful self-care workshop that I attended in January that if I want more of something, I also have to be willing to do less of something else. So in the spirit of more mercy, surrender, and doing less…

Settle. Rest. Let gravity guide you. Not every pose has to be a struggle. Mercy can be a sign of loving-kindness to ourselves, especially when you’re on the mat in yoga.

Lay it down on your mat (or the sand), surrender to the pose and offer mercy to yourself and others. The meadows will guide you.

Now that’s a Savasana – the ultimate surrender!

Published by mcloninger

Mandy Cloninger, CFRE, is a nonprofit thought leader, charismatic spokesperson, and a results-driven executive. With 20 years of experience raising hundreds of millions of dollars, cultivating transformational relationships with diverse constituencies, she has built capacity, scale, and scope in higher education, health care, and community-based nonprofits. She is passionate about social justice and humanitarian work internationally and at home. Mandy Cloninger is also a writer, public speaker, leader and faith seeker. Her journey and travels often bring inspiration to write, think and dream new dreams. Mercy & Meadows is a writing project inspired by a camping and hiking trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2021.

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