Author: Timothy Roettger
The day though young was a rough one. Glen had seen much better days and this one came with much bitterness. The death of his wife came with such despair. twenty long and wondrous years they had walk this earth together and instant an unknown man had stolen it from him. He sat weeping in the lobby of the hospital. Surrounded by family and friends he weep. And all weep with him. Pastor’s prayed, consolers counseled but in the end the grief and despair still raged. A war was being fought inside him and he could feel it. His flesh longed to cry out and deny God while his spirit Wanted to jump up and cry in his Father’s lap. Torn he couldn’t only cry and feel a grief that was thick enough for everyone around him to taste.
His wife, Sara, the apple of his eye. The love of his life they had met and known that they would get married in the end. They knew God brought them together and a love so deep was not easily lost. Glen only knew what the officer told him at work. Alcohol was involved and in the end The innocent paid the price, and Sara was the victim. Sara fought for life, she fought past doctors predictions and amazed them all but even with this it was only long enough for Glen to say have a painful goodbye with one he loved so much.
“Glen…love…” Sara fought to speak words that had prior come so easily.
“Sara… Don’t leave me.” Glen was weeping they both knew her death was coming. Glen wanted to fight it but there was no way, the doctors told him. Too much was damage, too much was lost and they were amazed she could even speak or be conscious. It was a miracle she lasted as long as she did.
“I can’t glen. Its time. I’ve finished my race. We’ll meet again. At the dinner. Don’t leave me waiting alone.” Glen instantly knew her words. He knew she spoke of heaven. He knew she spoke of not giving up. Not letting this remove his walk from God. He was angry and mad and wanted this not to happen but it was.
“I love you. I…I can’t live without you, I don’t want to. I don’t know how I can forgive that man.”
“You have to love. I need you with me there.” Tears flooded both of their eyes and Glen fought the pain. The anger. He fought it with all he had.”
“I love you Sara.” Glen quickly changed the subject, he didn’t want his last moments with his love to be in anger. “You were my biggest dream come true.”
“And you mine love. Don’t give up. Meet me for dinner.”
With that they kissed, she breathed her last tearfully looking into Glen’s eyes and holding his hand. And it was over. He was alone and all the fear and pain and anger and love and disgust just swirled within him. He couldn’t talk he sat there starring at her. It had to be a bad dream. He wanted to wake up to the loving embrace of his wife as he always did after a nightmare but there he was. It was real and a pain that hurt to deep for words or understanding was left as a reminder. He stood there with her till they wouldn’t let him. His family, his children had come. Words of comfort that truly only caused more grief and pain and for once he wanted only for them to be quiet. He couldn’t respond and wouldn’t if he could so they eventually just sat with him. He had no idea how much time passed but his friends and family hadn’t left him and the hospital didn’t make them leave. They understood, they had probably seen the same scenario played out many, many times. The moments faded away and Glen could only sit and try to keep from being overwhelmed. He sat silent, for hours.
Dan tasted his first breaths sober with bitterness. He only remembered faint parts of the previous night but knew he was unhurt. He struggled to put understanding behind the faint pictures flooding his mind. He was driving, he knew he shouldn’t have but he didn’t know what to do. He came up and found his wife. Sleeping with another man. He remembered that. He remember leaving his wife in tears, and his friend, his best friend running out after him with vein attempts to calm him. “it just happened”, “it was the only time”, “I’m so sorry Dan and the anger just flooded back…” He wasn’t a drinking man, worked hard to get buy kept to himself. But he couldn’t handle it. He remembered stopping at a store and buying liquor. Got the strongest he could find and just drank. He didn’t even give a second thought to driving, he didn’t care about what happened to him. But wait. Lights car, crunching. Something happened. It flooded back. An accident. A woman, blood, so much blood. Ambulances, lights, handcuffs. It was a mess, and a mess in his mind. He only faintly remembered parts. But one thing was for sure the cell wasn’t fake. It was real, it wasn’t a dream. Something happened.
“Hey you.” A Guard walked by, not seeing fit to be spoken to by name the guard substituted to get his attention. “She died you know.”
“Who? What do you mean.” It was a dream, he couldn’t be speaking for real, Dan fought the realization for what he’d done.
“The woman, she died. The woman you hit. Geese you’re a real winner buddy. You deserve what you get, I hope they do the worst they can to you.” Walking off disgusted leaving Dan in even more pain. First his wife now this. He’d taken a life. He stopped thinking about others and thought only about himself and this happened. He might have lost his wife but he took someone else’s. He did deserve what he got.
Time passed inside of court and outside. It was the day today, he’d know what his life was going to be. Prison, parole, he didn’t know didn’t care really. He still wanted to die. The guilt and shame and agony. Pleading guilty was all he could do that was right. Punishment phase came and all he could do was say he was sorry. His lawyer called his wife she lay her heart bare before the court. She blamed herself for what had happened. Her heart broke and there was such love in her eyes when she looked at him, such pain and he knew that she too felt the burden of guilt on her. He wanted to reassure her but, he didn’t know if he could. So much pain. So much hurt, but then he just caused it more. His wife’s statement came and went. And the judge spoke.
“The victim died and cannot speak for herself, so we will here a statement from her husband.” Glen stood up. So much fear and uncertainty, could he really do what God was laying on his heart. His heart broke for the man, he knew the pain of lost, but this main could regain it. Would he help him or seek to hurt that. In that man’s position would he have done different. He truly could see himself there. So much hurt and pain from a love betrayed.
“Thank you judge. My wife was, the love of my life.” Tears came and Glen made no move to take them away. “She was the picture of love, of innocence. She was a better person then I could ever be and with loosing her, I’ve lost the best parts of myself. I was completed by her. But she lived a life, of love, of forgiveness. She walked it and in my heart I know what she would say today. I will speak for her. Have mercy on this man. It was an accident, heat of the moment overtaken by a grief and despair that would conquer the best of us. Have mercy. I know she has forgiven him.”
Dan shook with and tears streamed down his face. He braced himself for hate and anger and for everything he showed his wife as he walked out that night. But he received forgiveness, without asking. Forgiveness without seeking it. And it moved him.
“I’m going to speak for myself now. I’ve lost something that was more valuable then anything in my life. Without her, each day will be a fight to go on. To say I’m grieved is to say too little. Sara…” sob and tears streamed. Glen took a moment to steady himself. “Sara and I had a deep love from the day we first met. We knew we were meant for each other. There is no one here who can speak within this situation that can say they lost more. And in my heart and mind, I forgive this man. Mercy triumphs over justice. Forgiveness is the only thing that will stop a cycle of pain and sin. I was forgiven once long ago by a man who paid my price on a cross. He died for me. I was…No, I am a sinner. I’m imperfect at best and even in my sin and shame. In the very midst of hatred and in the midst of all the pain I had sought to cause and did cause God forgave me. As it was spoken so long ago, Christ came in this world to save sinners, of which I am the worst. I can only do to forgive him. Its who I am. Again I plead mercy.” Glen stepped away and sat down again. Many were in tears and the judge was visibly shocked, and he could almost see the tears in his eyes, but the judge fought them back.
There wasn’t a man in that place that couldn’t put himself in either Dan or glen’s position. And the judge summed his composure again. “Mercy does triumph over judgment. But a transgression has been made, a life was lost and the law requires punishment. So I charge you to time served and 5 years probation. And a stern warning. If you ever even touch another glass of alcohol, or come before us in a state of guilt, you will find a punishment shown you that will be greater then you can imagine. You’ve been shown a great deal of mercy today. Of forgiveness. I suggest you don’t let it be wasted.” And magically it was over. The day ended and he was in tact, not where he thought he would be. And to his shock the court room actually seemed happy at the outcome. He walked out of the court room, to find the man standing there, waiting.
Dan needed to talk to him, he had too, and there he found his wife walking there as well. With a short look at each other they met, and embraced. Tears and apologies quickly spoken they walked over to Glen.
“We want to know this Jesus. Will you help us find him.” Glen’s heart nearly burst with a joy and remembrance of his wife that was sweeter then anything he had felt since her passing. And with even her death, her life yielded fruit unto God. Glen smiled, “It would be an honor.” Tears streaming down all their eyes, they sat listening, praying and accepting Jesus in their hearts right there in the hallway of a courtroom, surrounded by guards, officers, and criminals a like. And all listened as Dan and his wife asked God for the forgiveness they all needed. And a weight was lifted from them all, a bond was formed and they knew that they would be with Glen learning from him, and helping him in his grief. God brought life from death. Joy from grief. And one day they will all meet with Sara again, at the dinner with the Lamb who was slain. One day they would spend eternity praising the God who brought them peace, life, and forgiveness and freedom from sin.