It’s 9:00 a.m on the first day of June in the year of 2010. I am in the city courthouse by scheduled appointment to offer my support for some individuals I am in relationship with. Not being familiar at all with this setting nothing prepared for me what the morning would hold for my emotions.
Feeling confident that the day would go smoothly as planned, we headed into the courtroom to await our turn.
For those who have been in this situation before you would know that even though you are to be there for 9:00 a.m. that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be heard and seen at that time. In fact it can take all day depending on how things are moving along.
The court we were in was for youth and young offenders under the age of 18. My son and I are sitting there listening to each case and young person go before the judge one right after the other. We observe the process and the reactions to it from each individual. It was so eye-opening to observe all that was happening in the lives of those around me for this short time.
As each young person goes before the Judge she asks them the question “do you have a parent here with you?” So many answered NO it was shocking to me. My heart begins to hurt as one after the other went before the one who had all the power and authority to help in part decide their fate for this season of their lives some with no one there to show them they care.
I had noticed for a while now that there was a woman who looked about my age sitting alone. I found myself watching and waiting for her child to come to sit with her. Each time the door opened and new people entered the courtroom I wondered if it would be a girl or a boy to sit with her. I thought perhaps they were talking matters with duty counsel or in the washroom.
Well, as the morning went on, there was a name called and out of a side door came two police officers. I could hear chains clanking and much to my surprise escorted in was a young tall man in with shackles around his legs. He was led into a plexiglass stand as the date was determined by the Judge and lawyers as to when he would appear again in court.
I then realized he did have a mother in the courtroom. It was the lady who had sat alone all morning, there to support her son as he too stood before the judge like the others. Even if for a mere 4 minutes to see and support her son. I am sure it was well worth the morning’s wait.
My heart literally ached as I felt my emotions overwhelm me inside and felt the tears well up. Oh the heartache of this mother who wouldn’t be leaving with her son that day. The pain she must feel as she watches as her son is escorted in with shakes on his ankles. For those of you who are mom’s I know you can imagine the immense pain this mother must be feeling.
I began to wonder to myself, how she must feel. As I sat there realizing how blessed my family is and how blessed each one of my children are to have such an incredible support system around them. One that is filled with love, accountability, nurturing, grace, mercy and encouragement. Many have helped in speaking into my children’s lives and I am eternally grateful for that. I love those people and they know who they are and these are some of the greatest gifts to us!
But wait……….what about the families who don’t have this? What about the mom’s who don’t have a strong leader speaking into their children’s lives? What about the father’s who love their kids dearly but don’t know how to train and equip their sons and daughters with the right tools? What about the young men and woman in that court who are angry don’t know where to turn. What about the ones who stood alone that day?
I wondered about that mom inparticular….I bet she felt as though she were in a prison too. Perhaps a prison of guilt, shame and fear? I don’t know and may never know what went through the hearts of all those who were in that courtroom that day. But I can say that I believe what is in the hearts of all us is revealed in one way or another throughout the days of our lives…………..
What can we do to help? Impart and mentor? Pray for those who have no one praying for them….oh yes this is the greatest gift we can give to those who we might not be able to touch in a tangible way by relationship. We can touch the heart of a heavenly father on their behalf………….for the mothers,fathers and the young people who find themselves without hope and before a judge in one sort or another, I pray for hope and the love of God to find them and release all of them from their prisons.
I will never forget that day and I will never forget the type of picture of life that is for so many.
I want to say that the judge that day was an extraordinary woman, one who had no problem using her authority but one who also had a measure of grace extended to those who did nothing to deserve it but some were very grateful for it!
We too have done nothing to deserve grace, and all of us at one time have sat in a place of judgement by way of being judged or judging others……perhaps we can take a closer look at GRACE that is who I want as a friend!
Remember this……not one of those kids in that courtroom ever dreamed of being a criminal or an offender, if you ask any little boy or girl what they want to be when they grow up that is not what they dream of…….however life happens and sometimes it isn’t good for many a folk……….and there are consequences to wrong choices, forgiveness must be received and asked for, and retribution must be made in the courts of man. I agree totally, but today I am speaking from a heart posture, kinda like the courtrooms of our own hearts………our own internal justice system……..what we hold on to and what we let go of………..what we deem as pardonable and what we deem as not………
This is what has been on my heart this week…………..bye for now