I spent most of my adult life (33+ years) as a Probation Officer. It was always more than a job to me. It was a calling. One of the cornerstones of this profession was Mercy. Were it not for the Mercy of the Justice system the vast majority of the thousands of people, both young and old, I came across in my career would never have had the opportunity to change. To have seen men and women overcome childhood abuse and neglect, or years of addiction to drugs, and transform their lives, demonstrated the power of the human spirit, and Mercy given and received.
Being a Probation Officer was not an easy job and many in this profession would “burn out” and become cynical. I was blessed to have a foundation of beliefs and values that included justice with compassion, dignity and respect for all, and mercy. These core principals sustained me from the first to the last day of my career.
I had great difficulty trying to convey the notion of mercy on a personal level. It is really something I did not think a lot about until this exercise. I am trying to use mercy in the context of compassion, hope, and justice. Although I did not reference it in my writing if I were to look to the Bible to understand mercy it seems that the Old Testament talks a lot about justice with punishment and sacrifice, and then along comes Jesus with his message of kindness, forgiveness, and compassion.