Finding Radical Kindness in the Face of Chaos and Danger

Renowned writer, devoted grandmother, and thought-provoker Anne Lamott shares her latest fascination with an act we rarely consider but desperately need: mercy.

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Anne Lamott wasn’t planning to write a book on mercy. She’d touched on the subject in Traveling Mercies and some of her other bestsellers, and she thought she was done. “But then this thing started to nudge me and tug on my sleeve,” she says as she sits down at a cafe near her home in Fairfax, California. “I started thinking about mercy—just the word—and I noticed that if I said ‘mercy’ or ‘merciful’ to people, it could change their whole day.”

What emerged was Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, her timely, thought-provoking, and—yes—funny take on a topic most of us don’t give much thought to. “Mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion are synonyms, and the approaches we might consider taking when facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves—our arrogance, greed, poverty, disease, prejudice,” she writes. “It includes everything out there that just makes us want to turn away, the idea of accepting life as it presents itself and doing goodness anyway, the belief that love and caring are marbled even into the worst life has to offer.”

In a pink puffer jacket, sporting her trademark dreadlocks with golden highlights, Lamott is no faint-hearted church lady. Over the…

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About the author

Hugh Delehanty

Hugh Delehanty is a former editor for Sports Illustrated, People, Utne Reader, and AARP The Magazine and the co-author with NBA coach Phil Jackson of the #1 New York Times bestseller Eleven Rings.

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