You find yourself swathed again in the woman’s robes. She informs you that she cannot enter the judgment room with you, but that she can stand at the window, and her light will illuminate the court.
The first thing you see as you enter is your enemy—that person you are angry at. You are told that you will be the attorney for the defense—which is good news, of course, because you will surely have an opportunity to tell your side of the story, hopefully without interruption. As the defense attorney, you can ask yourself the necessary questions which prepare the way for a full explanation of your motives, your words, and even your feelings. Or so you think.
The judge enters. He wears a 19th century parliament wig. A dimly lit angelic figure pulls a long trumpet from behind his or her wings. (The figure is androgynous.) The angel blows the trumpet. It is a loud blast and unsettles everything in the room—including you. You think you might fall and are suddenly unsure of yourself and of how you will begin your defense.
Your enemy is called to the stand, and the judge then looks at you. “Are you prepared to begin the defense?” he says.
Someone (it sounds like The Woman’s voice) says, “You will be defending your opponent.”
Your immediate response—directed at no one—is that the person is indefensible. When you begin a sentence with “This person is. . .” a boy’s choir in Anglican robes with purple collars sings from the rafters (you had not noticed the rafters or the choir until now) “Jerk!”, “Idiot”, “Hopeless”, “Monstrous,” and then begins singing to the melody of “For Unto Us a Child is Born—and His name shall be called-“ but inserts instead the words “Terrible! “Horrible”, “Satanic grunt” “An ugly ignoramus” in glorious harmony. The unfamiliar mix of epithets and Handel is disconcerting to say the least.
You have a memory of the real lyrics about the Messiah, and you know that these new ones are wrong. You hear The Woman’s whisper, though she seems miles away: “Inasmuch as ye have said it about the least of these. . .”
Again, the room becomes unsteady and you think you will fall. Everything is collapsing around you—including your enemy. You suddenly see portions of their mortal life, from childhood on, and a terrible pity unfolds in you from the grudge itself. The grudge seems not to be imploding or shrinking, but growing flatly to reveal scenes you could not have witnessed. You see moments of your opponent being excluded, bullied, or abandoned. You see them as a child and you can barely resist embracing them. You do resist, of course, and find yourself saying, “This person did not intend to injure anyone.” The grudge twitches and knots, and you remember your own hurt, but you find yourself unable to bring it fully back to your memory. It has become two-dimensional and brings only an echo of pain, not the pain itself.
You are told that you may choose to be the prosecuter as well as the defending attorney if you so desire. Some do make this choice, and find themselves immediately transported back to the recycle room.
As you ponder the being before you, you find that your pity becomes more like compassion, and you want to commiserate about what each of you has suffered. The suffering itself is sacred and bonding. There is nothing patronizing in your feelings for them now. The moment you say, “You are free to go,” the room goes brighter and the door opens. The person, merely an image conjured from your own memory and from The Woman’s light, dissolves and you find your words echoed by the boys’ choir and by the judge. Some of the boys sing “The prince of peace!” and others “You’re free to go!” and you see that the open door is not for your opponent but for you.
If you choose to go through the door, say, “You’re free to go.”
Click here once you have said those words.