On Monday June 16th of last year I woke up early in my parents house in Madison so my cousin Danny and I could drive back to Chicago to attend a public court appearance of the young man who stands accused of murdering my brother. Although I had just arrived in Madison from Chicago the night before, we thought it was important that one of us attend and I felt I was best suited for the trip. Danny volunteered to come with me and drive and in hindsight I can't imagine how I would have done it without him.
We arrived at the courthouse by 9am and waited in line to get through security. I recognized the security guard from the day before when we had stopped by the courthouse thinking we were supposed to be there for an appearance that day. He seemed a little surprised to see me again and I remember thinking he wanted to help me somehow but was in serious security mode and so simply made sure we knew where we needed to be. I got to the front of the line to find out I couldn't bring in my ipod, which I had at the bottom of my purse. I went back out to the car and came back through again the whole time wondering how soon I would have to step into the courtroom, what it would look like, and what would happen.
At it turned out we had more than an hour to wait before anything happened but didn't want to leave and risk missing things. So we went to the little mini cafeteria/food stand right there on the first floor and got coffee, and Danny got something to eat. I picked up a copy of the Chicago Tribune and remember that there was going to be an article about Brendan's murder in it. We had set ourselves up in a corner by a window and were using the window ledge as a counter to put our things down and I stood and held the paper with both hands.
At this time it for some reason there were a fair amount of people passing by in the large open hallway. As I was standing reading this article about Solve the street artist being murdered, with a quote from my parents that my sister and I had helped prepare the night before, tears started coming down my face. I started to weep and as I got to the end of the article I set the paper down and put my face in my hands and cried. Danny put his arms around me and when I looked up and caught my breath there was a woman who had noticed and was walking towards us. For a moment the thought crossed my mind that she might suggest we go somewhere else, but she didn't. She was much shorter than me, a black woman with short hair, a soft face, large motherly breasts, and a gentle way.
She came up to me, took my arms, looked up at my face and told me that although she didn't know what had happened to me, she felt that God had something good for me. She said she was sorry that something bad had happened to me, but God had something good for my life. Then she hugged me and held on to me for a minute patting and cooing, looked in my face and squeezed my arms again and I think (I hope) I thanked her and she walked away. She said it with such peaceful conviction that I actually believed her.
I don't care why she was in the courthouse that day and I don't care if I was one of many weeping people she told about God's love. I don't care that we probably don't believe in the same God. I just care that she hugged me and I'm glad she believed that better things were coming my way. She didn't make me feel better, nothing could have, but she did make me feel love, and that's everything.