traveling mercies

Among people who pray, some ask God for traveling mercies. It’s a funny phrase. Mercy is, briefly, not getting what you deserve (in contrast to grace which is getting what you don’t deserve).

A request for traveling mercies must mean a request for protection, a request for smoothness in the face of the expected roughness of the road, a request for less traffic than might be expected.

It’s possible that it means a request that others will give us laughter when our grouchiness at the road conditions or from lack of food or about ourself fills the car.

We are traveling sporadically from the 25th through the 28th. Because of a number of challenges during the past couple weeks, when left to myself I get quiet. “I’m thinking,” is what I tell myself, though there isn’t much thinking happening.

We were driving home on the 25th after a nice gentle Christmas celebration with Nancy’s family. We were quiet, I was thinking, and then we started talking about something. I made a comment about speed and Nancy moved her hand and made a sound. Twenty-five years, thousands of miles, millions of words, billions of gestures and I’ve never heard and seen that.

I laughed.

I laughed way more than that simple moment merited, perhaps. It was a laugh of release and relief and delight. I giggled for a few miles.  At a moment when I deserved silence, when I deserved some kind of adjuration to stop being so melancholy, that isn’t what I got. Instead, God and Nancy conspired to give me what I forgot to request:

traveling mercies.

I ask the same for you.

2 responses to “traveling mercies

  1. This is a lovely piece. It makes me feel quietly happy. Thanks.

  2. Just goes to show–new wonders around every bend, no matter how far down the road we’ve traveled.