I am a little off kilter today. I had a stressful morning just sitting in a courtroom for an hour and a half watching how slowly justice does move (don’t worry, I was there as “the victim,” not the perpetrator!). The thing is I have to go back next week. It saddened me to be there in the first place. I don’t understand dishonesty and lack of integrity or doing things that hurt other people, even if the hurt is not physical.
I am out of sorts.
I’ve been somewhat active this afternoon—filling the bird feeders, playing in the Happy Planner, trying to make stuff.
I just don’t feel like “myself.” You see, for a long time after the theft (the reason I am in court), I felt as though someone had taken my “life”—my identification, my personal information, the “stuff” that was uniquely mine at that time. I felt violated in a way, that someone had encroached on my personal space and invaded my life. I felt like someone else controlled my life until I could get things pieced back together—new driver’s license, new bank accounts, new credit cards, new Social Security card, new wallet, pocketbook, sets of keys. . . . It still bothers me that that stuff is still “out there” somewhere for someone to find.
I believe there are more paths to justice than jail sentences. I am willing to explore those alternatives, especially when young people are involved. I have been a teacher for thirty-six years, and I have learned that I never know how my actions will influence and affect someone else. I want to be a good influence, and I want my actions to reflect my faith. I believe in mercy.
However, I am not feeling all that merciful today. I know that petit larceny is not that big a deal. After all, if I had to put a value on the physical things that were stolen from me, it would be less than $100.00. It’s the other things that were taken from me, the things that cannot be priced and replaced, things like trust and faith in other human beings and security. I hate feeling suspicious; I hate feeling that I constantly need to look over my shoulder just to be sure someone isn’t lurking and waiting to snatch something from me. Today, I wanted the defendant in this case to go to jail and for the jailor to throw away the key. No, I’m not myself today.
I don’t know what the final outcome will be. I won’t know until next week. I do know that, in spite of my feelings, I did extend the hand of mercy this morning. I hope that in doing so, the person who took so much more than a purse with less than $5.00 in nickels and dimes and pennies, will reconsider the path she had chosen that day three years ago. I hope that she is making some changes in her life and that in some small way, I will have helped to make that change.
Justice is slow, not just in the court system, but in life as well.