We had waited for this moment for ten years - and so had everyone else it seemed. The media had already set up their schedule. We had obligations to answer their questions - but we had no idea what our answers would be or should be.
All we knew was that over the years - being authentic to the moment had worked for us. I'm not even sure we could pull off a scripted response. Besides the outcome was so unpredictable, we didn't have the imagination to know how we would react.
For example, the Friday before the verdict day we had our Presbyterian friends over for a listening to God dinner, at which time, we thought we might prepare ourselves.
We asked God about the verdict.
The word that we received that evening was, “God will set the prisoner free.”
We just looked at each other. “Well that isn’t going to happen,” we all agreed.
We couldn’t fathom the accused going free, so we decided that the word “freedom” was meant for us.
My unscripted response at that moment was that we were the prisoners. We had been locked up in an invisible prison for years and this meant that we would be set free on October 18, 2017.
That felt so good.
That just goes to show how certain we were that the verdict would be "guilty," We thought he was guilty and couldn't imagine anyone thinking anything other. Mind you, we had access to the entire ten year process, and other information not presented in the courtroom.
Except - having him in prison didn't really give me a sense of freedom that one would expect so I wasn't in actuality looking forward to his prison term. The last time he had been convicted and sent to prison for 25 years we received reports that kept us informed of everything he was doing, so in that way a formal prison sentence would bind us even closer than now when he was awaiting trial. It was just complicated. He was complicated. There would never be any real freedom in this complicated system.
But when the judge ended her statement with the word "acquittal" we were stunned. We had expected, guilty or not guilty so the word "acquittal" meant nothing to us. We didn't even know what that word meant in this context.
Yet there was no time to really process it. Emotions need time. We didn't have time.
We had a quick consultation with the Crowns - but that only managed to confuse us as a family. We didn't all agree - it would take a family conversation - and we had no time.
All we knew was that the process was over - the accused would be on the streets again probably by end of day. He would be free.
Clutching the Docket CR 09-01-29721 that the Crowns had graciously prepared for me, we headed for the media scrum.
The words - “God will set the prisoner free” swirled around us.
God had known. last Friday about this. He had given us the words,
And that's when it hit me that this really was true freedom. Acquittal meant he was free on the street, we would be no longer tied to each other. We were free of the process.
It was over.
There were still some niggles about setting a sexual predator free - but maybe that was no longer an issue - God sees all. God was in this. The truth of the trial would serve as an invisible prison. Besides that was no longer our responsibility.
We were free.
By the time we hit the front door with all those mics and cameras facing us, we were already feeling it.
“Relieved!” we said with surprise.
It was definitely relief – bordering on a strange joy!
The media coverage that evening reflected all of it.
It was so weird, yet our response seemed to set the public free as well.
We were so grateful that our conversation with God had prepared us.
Our faith grew again.
God is truly about setting us free.
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about. – Haruki Murakami