I guess I didn’t really know what to expect when I went to testify against the people who robbed me. I thought maybe I’d be intimidated by their stares. Maybe they would threaten me in some way. Or maybe I’d get my punching bag fantasy, pay them back for fouling my sacred space. I imagined all kinds of crazy scenarios during the sleepless night before.
At the courthouse, the detectives walked them back and forth between rooms to speak with their lawyers. I was a bit surprised I couldn’t dredge up a bit of venom when I finally saw them in person. All that rage I had once felt dissolved into a mild curiosity. What had brought them to this point?
I searched their faces willing them to look at me, not to glare at them or gloat at their capture as I thought I might. Instead, I looked at them with empathy and, shockingly, forgiveness. I didn’t excuse the act. Regardless of what brought them to that low place, they were never without the power of choice. There is no doubt their crimes warranted retribution. But when I looked at them, my thirst for vengeance was quiet. I watched and silently wished they would remember something good about themselves that would empower them to turn their lives around.
I realize this may sound naive. I may sound like some bleeding-heart sucker. If I cross paths with them in the future, it is very reasonable to believe they’d rob me again. I know this.
In the end, they waived the trial. I don’t know if I’ll see them again or hear of their punishment. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Their act and its outcome no longer hold power over me. When I found forgiveness, I was no longer their victim. My anger lost its flavor. The bitter bite became just a bad aftertaste. I found my sweet tooth for hope. And sucker or not, I like it.