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Sunday, January 27, 2013

The words I hope to say

                When you first came into my house, I was overwhelmed.  I truly did not know how to react.  In fact, my brain had simply shut off.  I had never thought that this would happen to me, experiencing a break in and a robbery.  But even after it happened, I never imagined this moment where we would stand face to face again, this time equally vulnerable. 
                Your actions brought new fears into my life that I had never experienced before.  You violated my home and my privacy.  You not only injured me physically, but also mentally and emotionally.  I don’t know why you did what you did, but I know that God orchestrated the event to not only show his power and protection, but also to make both of us better people.
                It is by the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus Christ that I can stand in front of you, look you in the eyes, and say this: I forgive you.  It doesn’t change what you did, just how I choose to remember it; with no more bitterness.  Instead, it’s a memory, a story, something to learn from.  No longer will I hold this against you. 
                However, true forgiveness comes from the Lord who even now is waiting with open arms for you to turn to him.  He will forgive you if you truly want it.  Forgiveness, however, doesn’t make anyone right.  It just makes both of us free.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Judgement day

This is not referring to the impending "end of the world", although I look more and more towards it every day.  No, I'm referring to something that hardly anyone knows about, not something blasted on the news and twisted out of proportion.  No, I'm talking about judgement day for one man...and one girl.

A robber and a victim.

Him and me.

Yes, I'm going to finally tell you all something I've told only a few people; this summer our house was broken into, while I was home.  Alone.  I was on the phone with one of my best friends at the time that it all began.

11:20am, Monday morning, July 2, 2012.  Just an ordinary day home alone...nice weather, a huge list of things to do and no desire to do them.  Sounds about right... :P  I was one the phone with my good friend Emily at the time when it all began.



"What was that?" Emily asked me.

"I don't know..." I replied pensively.  Usually, when people come to your house, they knock like normal people, instead of pounding as if they're in a hurry, or scared.


"This is weird..." I commented to Emily as I moved from our sun room to the fireplace room.  I squint as I look at the reflection of the front door on our glass door.  I see a strange man with his hands cupped around his face looking into our foyer.  I can see him, but he can't see me.


This time, it comes from the glass door in the sun room I just vacated.

"Now they're trying a different door!" I gasp to Emily.  When I see the first guy leave from the front door, I dash around the corner and up the stairs.

"What's going on?" Emily asks me, concerned.

"I have no idea," I say, unsure of the present circumstances.  "Dad forgot to tell me that electrician's were coming one time, and they came to every door in the house..."  I look out my parents' window to see a small, shiny, silver car, like a Honda Civic.  "But this doesn't look like an electrician's truck."  I dart to my room, kneel on my bed, and gently pry back my blinds the tiniest bit.  I see two men; one who has his hands cupped around his face pressed against our sun room door, and the other walking around the sun room.  One of them points at the sun room, as if he saw something interesting.

I tell this to Emily.  "I don't know what they're doing," I say.  I pull my cell phone from my pocket and start to dial Dad, thinking maybe he still forgot to tell me about people who were coming.  I keep watching them, giving Emily the play-by-play of the scene under me.  Just then, the first guy that I saw disappeared under the roof, towards the side garage door.

"Oh gosh, did I lock that door?  No wait, I haven't done the horses yet, so I haven't gone out that door...did Dad lock it?"  I babble to Emily.

I don't hear the initial action, but suddenly I stiffen and my eyes well with tears.  "Emily," I wheeze, "they're in my house!"

"It's gonna be okay!  Calm down, I'm gonna call the police!"  Then she hangs up.  I just stand in shock, unable to move or breathe.  I'm freaking out.  My brain is going a million miles a minute.  What do I do?  I never thought I'd be in this situation...not ever in a million years.

I don't hear him come up the stairs, but I know he's here when I hear coins clinking together in my parents' room.  I don't even think.  I just swing open my door and leap to my parents' doorway.  And stop.  And I watch.

Burglar #1, who I called the bald-headed guy, is shaking something into a big bag.  He didn't see me, but I certainly saw him.  After a few seconds, I look down at my feet.  "What am I doing?" I think to myself.  I dart back to my room, close the door until it reaches the clicking stage, and hang up on Dad.  Dad isn't going to be able to help me with this.  Instead, I dialed 911.  I stood in the middle of my room, still holding the house phone as I called 911 on my cell phone, while two men robbed my house.  I know, it still boggles my mind today.

Two seconds later, the bald-headed guy opens my door, takes one step and freezes.  We stare at each other for three seconds.  Maybe it was more, maybe it was less.  It honestly felt as if time had stopped in that moment.

After how many seconds actually passed, the bald-headed guy, still holding his cloth bag of stolen items, did a 180 degree turn and bolted for the stairs.  And just like that, I switch from complete and utter fear to--

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!  GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!!!!"  I scream at the top of my lungs.  At this point, my brain has turned off.  I don't think, I just bolt after him, screaming at him. "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!!  GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!!"  All I can think about is getting this intruder out of my house.

I'm right on his heels, with my left arm stretched out.  I still have the house phone in my left arm.  I chase him through the foyer, the laundry room, and into the garage.  All I can think about is, "if I just get a couple inches closer I can grab him and hit him over the head with my phone!"  (not the smartest idea, but hey, I wasn't really cognitively present at the time!)

Then we get to the side garage door.  (Here is where I strongly believe God was present although looking back I know He orchestrated so much of it!).  Right at the doorway, where all I have to do is lunge and I'll have his shirt in my fist.  But instead, he whips around and slams the door behind him, catching my left elbow in the door.  My momentum carries me into the door before I really notice what's happened.  My anger is starting to mix with crazy emotions as the tears start to roll down my cheeks.

I keep chasing him though.  But I stop at the end of our driveway, when I see him climbing into his car.  And suddenly, I think "Nancy Drew always got the license plate number!"  And so, while I'm standing their, still screaming at the bald-headed guy, with my cell phone still to my ear, I mentally chant the license place number until they pull far enough away that I can't read it anymore.

While I'm memorizing the number, the second guy, who was wearing a hat, comes darting down the front sidewalk.  He almost doesn't make it in the car before the bald-headed guy starts accelerating away from the screaming ninja he had encountered in the house.  But they both manage to get away.

During this process, my anger is rapidly diminishing and all I'm doing is sobbing and screaming.  Finally, I yell to the 911 operator, who I'm sure has been listening to everything from the last three minutes...or thirty seconds...maybe it was only ten seconds, "MY HOUSE WAS JUST ROBBED!"

"Ma'am, I need you to calm down."

Seriously lady?  You really expect me to calm down when my house was just robbed?!?!  But I take a deep breath and give her all the information she asks for as I slowly pad back into my house.  That's when I start noticing everything.  First off, I notice that the side garage door is splintered from where they shouldered it open, dead bolted and.  I call Emily back, my hands shaking uncontrollably.

"Emily, they robbed me..." I breathe out shakily.  I walk back into my house and shut the door.  "They got away, but I got their license number.  I called the police."

"Well...good, because I accidentally hung up on them!"  We laugh.  Seems strange to laugh, but that's what I need to do.

"Emily, they tried to take my tv...but they just left it sitting here by the front door.  I think it still doesn't look smashed.  They left the disc half out of it...I wonder why!  Oh!"  Then I turned towards the mirror.  "I'm elbow and my face. my elbow hurts.  And my nose...I wonder if it's broken."

I continue to babble until the police get there.  Praise the Lord, Emily sends her mom over as soon as  as a support system, as my parents are both working.  I'm alone with the corporal for five minutes or so before Emily's mom gets there.  I didn't cry to the police officer, but as soon as Emily's mom gets there, I immediately begin sobbing into her shoulder.

The next two hours are a blur.  Emily's mom calls my dad, he comes home, my house is filled with four different officers.  I'm asked to repeat my story about six different times and give descriptions of the two men.  They take pictures of my injuries (my elbow, my upper left arm, and my nose) and show me pictures of possible suspects.  Immediately, I am able to identify the bald-headed guy.

With my description of the car, the memorization of the license plate, and the identification of the suspect, they are able to trace the car and discovered it is owned by the suspect's mother.  Wow.

That was about six months ago.  And finally, there is a trial for the bald-headed guy.  January 28th, 2013.  Mom and Dad are letting me come for it, because there is something I have to do.  You may call me crazy, or insane, or something, else, but I need to go to this trial and look him in the eye and tell him that he is forgiven.

You may ask me why.  It's a personal conviction...I know that I may step on a few toes with what I say next, but that's okay.  You see, if you boil it down, my sin killed Jesus on the cross.  I killed Jesus.  This man didn't do anything close to that caliber to me!  If Jesus can forgive me for essentially killing him, I'd be a hypocrite if I couldn't forgive this man for merely breaking into my house.

No, I'm not perfectly fine about it.  I'm scared that I'm going to have my moment to say what I want and I'll freeze.  Or I'll take too long and time will run out.  Or that he will throw it back in my face.  I had just begun to forget his face...I almost don't want to risk remembering it again...

But this is something I have to do...something I feel so strongly about.  It's because of Christ's saving grace that I will be able to stand in front of him and say it.  I know the Lord will give me the words to say.  This is all been his doing in the first place.