1. Posted May 2, 2020, From Forgiveness to Friendship
“….and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”-Micah 6:8, ESV
Court Room 404. My friend Linda and I sat next to each other on a long wooden pew bench in county traffic court waiting for the judge and attorneys to return from his chambers. Linda and her husband were awaiting their son’s trial and the judge’s decision. While driving to a volunteer job, their son James had accidentally hit a young lady riding her bike, and she had died within an hour. The judge and attorneys on both sides were conferring before the trial. I had decided to take the day off from work to attend the hearing and sit with them. I wanted to support their family and hear the court’s decision.
An Immediate Connection. I met Linda and her family five months earlier at church. James was a twenty-seven-year-old high functioning young man with special needs but with an IQ that was actually higher than his mom’s. Since I worked at a college for students with similar disabilities, his needs and our shared faith gave Linda and me an immediate connection. I loved her as a dear friend and sister in Christ from the start, and we were walking this tragic situation together.
A Special Young Man. How my heart went out to them! With James’s disabilities in mind, I was concerned about how he would get over this. Would he obsess about the accident repeatedly? How would he move forward? What would the judge say? My husband and I had hoped and prayed James would not go to jail. We could not imagine how a young man like him could survive prison.
The Judge Enters. Fifteen minutes had passed since the attorneys and judge had entered his chambers for a private meeting. They re-entered the courtoom at the front; the judge entered last. The stern demeanor he held with earlier traffic cases had changed. Even with his commanding height and black robe, his expression now looked softer, but I had only a moment to ponder why before an attorney called James and his parents to the bench. Linda and her husband stood and approached with James stationed between them.
Then, unexpectedly, the state’s attorney called my name to also step forward.
The judge had something to say to me because–the young lady killed on the bike was my daughter.
Stay tuned! This is where our story begins. Actually, it begins six months earlier, but I’ll tell you about that in Blog 2, “Happy Birthday, Anna.”