Today is Good Friday, the Christian Holy Day that tells of the plan of salvation for all mankind. Paul Sainsbury, my wonderful South African friend, posted this picture on his status today, along with this challenge:
We found a travel game called "Story Cubes" that seems kinda fun... Anyone wanna play? Make up a story that uses all the pictures on the "dice" and post a comment :-)
|Paul Sainsbury's throw of "Story Dice" that this tale is based on.|
In every person there lives the unfulfilled longing to be understood and to understand. The eternal questions exist in every language; in every heart: “Who am I?” “How do I fit in?” "Where do I belong?”
Judge Cant was no exception. Despite years of study, degrees and acceptance in his circle of Mensa mammoths, Judge Cant lived a life devoid of pleasure. He led his family the same way he led his court: out of duty rather than passion. When he finally attained his last goal: becoming a pilot and buying his own plane, it gave him little pleasure. Even flying did not make him noble.
Judge Cant sunk into a life he could not feel - existing but not living; seeking but not finding; sleeping but not dreaming. He knew that in the halls of justice, he was a phony. He was a man whose scales were different everyday and whose decisions had less to do with the law than what bothered him in the season he decided.
One night, in the glow of a crescent moon, he rocked his baby grandson. The Judge wondered if he mattered at all in the universe. Would he ever be able to be an example of excellence to this little person? What wisdom could he ever offer him? What was it like to be happy? For the first time in his life he uttered a prayer: "God, if you're up there, come and find me."
The answer to his prayer came quickly and unexpectedly.
The very next day (an example of the beauty and simplicity of a just God) Judge Cant found himself on the steps of the courthouse in front of a homeless man. It was a man he had seen everyday, a man he had never ignored or acknowledged, but rather never crossed. That particular day the courthouse garage was in renovation and the judge had to use a remote parking space reserved for court officials. He hurried up the stairs, anxious to get a Kona roast before it went bitter. It was then he nearly tripped over the indigent man.
"Sorry, pal," Judge Cant gasped, surprised he had almost fallen.
"Judge Cant," the homeless man said. It made the judge consider him closely. Was this a former defendant he had ruled on? A derelict father he had decreed against? How did the man know his name?
"Do I know you?" Judge Cant asked. The man pointed to the large Sycamore in the center of the courtyard.
"Did you know that Jesus is the tree of life?" the homeless man asked, smiling. Judge Cant realized that the man was drunk and nodded, smiling.
"Yes," he said, bounding up the rest of the stairs. He could hear the man shout at his back, now angrily.
"You say you do," he said. "But he was hung on that tree for you!"
Judge Cant looked around to see if anyone had seen the exchange. It appeared that everyone was moving along well, as busy as they always were. The courthouse steps were always busy...and then he saw the Sycamore again before opening the large wooden door.
The docket was full and Judge Cant couldn't get the homeless man's comment out of his mind: "You say you do - but he was hung on that tree for you!"
Hours ticked by and the clerk noticed his worried brow.
"Would you like a recess, your honor?" he whispered as he dropped another file in front of his eyes.
"No, Marcel," Judge Cant said. He tried to straighten his back, but it occurred to him that Marcel was a religious man.
"Marcel," he whispered as the bar bustled with new counsel. "What does it mean that 'he hung on that tree for you?'"
Marcel smiled carefully, his upper lip covered from his moustache. "You mean Jesus?" he whispered.
Judge Cant nodded. It was Jesus, wasn't it? It was the first thing that man had said.
Marcel cleared his throat. "Today is Good Friday," he said. "It is the day Jesus was crucified for the sins of all people. He was nailed to a cross; a tree."
"Of course," Judge Cant knew the historical perspective. Marcel was wasting his time with such detail. "What does it mean that he hung there for me?"
Marcel had been smiling, but the corners of his mouth turned down. He looked nervous now, and the Judge wondered why.
"The sins of all people, your honor," he whispered. It was time to hear the next case. "The sins of all people means... your sins, too."
The next case took particularly long and the Judge kept looking at Marcel. How dare he imply that he had sinned, ever! Judge Cant had kept his nose clean his whole life, no easy feat attending Dartmouth in the seventies. Maybe there was that one sleepover with the flower-power girl who didn't wear a bra. Maybe he hadn't ever gone to church. Maybe there was the ....
One by one Judge Cant remembered sins. What a terrible word: sin. It left you with no defense, no justification. It wasn't ...just.
"Your honor?" Defense counsel was waiting for his ruling. The Judge looked perturbed This particular Defense counsel was a little too vigorous - she defended every guilty man like he should be given a second chance. It wasn't right...
"Why such a vigorous defense, Miss Atley?" Judge Cant said, tired and frustrated. She blinked without answering.
"This man," the judge said, loudly. "Has admitted to the assault of an elderly woman! An old lady hit by this man! He deserves prison! Why do you defend him in this minutia of loopholes?"
"Your honor..." she began, noticeably flustered.
"No," Judge Cant said, "Motion denied."
There was a slippery silence and Judge Cant looked up at Marcel, who was regarding him with a pitiful look on his face. The judge shook his head and banged the gavel.
"I'll hear nothing further today."
There was a confused mumbling and the clerk announced that the case would be heard the following Tuesday, owing to the holiday that would take place for Easter. Judge Cant threw him a disgusted look.
As the people filtered out of the courtroom doors, it seemed to Judge Cant that they were cattle, entering the gates of slaughter. Sheep, in line to be killed; people threading through the gates of hell to face the woeful fire that would never die.
That damn man! Judge Cant thought, resting his face in his hands. Telling me of my sin... I had no sin before today. I had no conflict before today.... I had no life before today.
Eventually, Marcel stepped up to collect the files on the Judges desk. He approached carefully, and the Judge lifted his head. He felt his eyes, sore and bloodshot look at Marcel carefully.
"How can I find a different way?" Judge Cant asked him, nearly in tears. "How can I not go through those doors?"
Marcel picked up the gavel, the magnifying glass and the files. He had never seen the Judge like this before.
It was his day.