I find myself being more existential of late. The reason for this is pretty obvious to me, I Have a friend that went to jail yesterday. When the whole process started with him, it just came completely out of left field and even now that he is away I still find it hard to believe.
Yet, he gave a guilty plea, so the inclination is just to believe he did it (sorry not saying what). The thing is with the law is that he may not have had any way to prove he didn’t do it and so it was better to save money and to try for a shorter sentence and thus plea guilty and not fight it.
I made the choice very early of maintaining a friendship with him for the last several months despite the crime that he may have committed. The crime he supposedly committed had been months before that point and I was a friend to him then, nothing really had changed outside of him being caught. The Bible also teaches that you should forgive people, and if a friend can’t forgive another friend for mistakes that have been made, even big ones, then who can? I guess I also don’t really believe he did it because nothing about it sounds like him.
But that only gets me thinking of what we actually know about the people we talk to on a daily basis. I’ve known this guy a relatively short time of about 3 years. And it was really only the last year and a half that we started developing a real friendship. So that something like this came out, may just be the result of me not knowing him well. However, i felt I did. We had a certain kinship, a likeness of interests and personalities which is the whole reason a friendship develops.
In him, I saw a mirror of myself. Not an exact mirror, maybe one of those funhouse mirrors which distort ever so slightly, but a mirror none the less. And this also makes me wonder what about myself I don’t know about. I mean I feel we’ve all done at least one thing in our past in which could have landed us in prison had we been caught. At least, I feel many geeks have, maybe this was just his and he didn’t get away with it. Maybe I would do what he did if the situation presented itself, though I’d like to think I wouldn’t and that I am past that temptation.
What really makes me think though is how it must feel to be him now. Whether he did it or not, I doubt he saw it coming when the police showed up at his door. And going through all the initial processing, finding out what you did, pre-trials and then waiting and waiting and waiting… And then knowing that in a couple of months you will go to jail, then a month, then a week, then a few days, then tomorrow. God how awful that must be. I can’t even imagine needing to wrap up everything in your life to make sure that when you go, everything is taken care of. The nervousness that you must feel walking into that courthouse for the final time, the sadness that you have as you are taken away from your friends and family… from your life… for whatever amount of time that some strange person who has never even really met you decides.
I’d like to think that this will never happen to me. I’d like to think that I live my life on the straight and narrow and that there would be no just cause to bring me to jail. But it is a crazy world. I bet 6 months ago, this guy never thought it would happen to him. But here he is, likely spending his first morning after sentencing, in jail. What makes me so special? What makes me different?