“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe when somethings suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.”
I love this quote. If I were to look into my own chest right now, I can image my heart, intertwined with ribbons of gold, holding all the tattered pieces of brokenness together, creating a beautiful masterpiece.
As these last few days have passed, I’ve had some time to reflect on the events of last Tuesday – court – and all that transpired in that actuality of such a short timespan but what at the time seemed like an endless tailspin of voices, emotions and impossible decisions. I can say with the most candor that from the outset, I was in complete anguish over what occurred. In my wildest imagination, never once had I envisioned leaving that courtroom convicted of a crime, assigned a suspended sentence and probation. I fully believed that with the truth on my side, the mistakes would be revealed, wrongs would be righted, and this extended nightmare would finally be over. This obviously did not happen.
I have decided for the privacy of my children to not write about the specifics of what my case was about. Too many lies have already been printed by the press, and those are bells I cannot unring. My children have finally begun to heal from the miscarriage of justice that the various media outlets let loose on our street, neighbors and town 2 years ago. I am fully aware of the issue surrounding freedom of press, but what these monsters did was nothing less than a witch hunt, manufacturing lies when people refused to speak with them, running erroneous stories again and again to fill time prior to each court appearance and costing my family more than anyone will ever truly understand.
What I have learned in the days since my sentence is that I am deeply and richly blessed. I have an incredible circle of friends that have been held to the fire time and again, refined in ways I don’t deserve, and still they support me when I am so low I don’t even know where to begin to raise up once again. As I returned home Tuesday and words failed me, I merely texted those close remaining few. I was instantly flooded with an outpouring of love and support – it touched me to my core – and though doubt remained that I had made the right decision, their love helped to wipe that away…each one more and more still.
I have also been affirmed that my character, which has been under attack from all directions by the enemy – who takes on many forms as of late – is worthy of admiration and example. I try to live as Jesus would, and I fail miserably each and every day – but to hear the words from my child, my friends – that I am respected for who I am, especially at a time like this…it speaks volumes to me. I am humbled, and so thankful that I have a Savior who forgives me for my shortcomings and allows me to return to Him every time I fail Him. I won’t change who I know I am – not for this world, not for anyone.
Lastly, I have shared that I have been working with an incredible therapist for these past 2 years, without whom I would never have made it through this crisis or been able to recognize the me who was trapped inside this body ready to break free and take charge. I am so thrilled with the work I’ve done – reclaiming my voice, embracing who I am, learning new strategies for old issues, growing relationships with my children, finding happiness – it’s been a lot of work, but I would not have given any of it a second thought. In meeting this week and sharing Tuesday’s events, she listened intently and I awaited her response to all I’d shared.
She asked first why I’d taken the deal, and it caught me off-guard. I shared that there was a list of people prepared by the Prosecution to call to testify…my children were at the top, neighbors, friends, my Pastor, police officers, DCF workers, teachers, on and on and on. Too many people stood to get hurt – and when I weighed my children on the stand and that deal, the risk wasn’t worth it anymore. And then she said two of the most powerful things I’d heard all week: two years ago I was so stuck on why this happened and what were we going to do about it and how were we going to fix it, that I could barely see straight. Now I had just sacrificed myself so that my children did not get hurt – look at the progress I’d made. Secondly, I had maintained that the Justice System never really cared about the truth, they just wanted their pound of flesh. But she said that my truth, my version of what happened, is still true – whether they heard me or not. It doesn’t negate what I know is true. There are interpretations of the truth, and I will always know what happened – this plea doesn’t change that.
I’m finding that helpful in being able to stop calling myself a ‘convict,’ which I’ve been doing all week, and to stop comparing myself to others who were in court that day. They don’t walk my walk, nor do I walk theirs. I’m giving myself permission to feel whatever I need to right now – and that’s something entirely new for me. I’m not going to linger too long, and then I’m going to process what God has next for me, because there’s always a plan. It’s been a long 2 years to get to this point, and there’s a lot of hurt and healing to process. But I am absolutely in the best place of my life to deal with those feelings, which lets me know I’m right where I’m supposed to be, with exactly who I need beside me.