To Roger Sizemore and the Court: A Poem

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By Mindy Haidle

Mindy presented this piece at Imago Dei as part of Michelle Jones’ sermon Becoming Mature on April 28th, 2019, as an example of what it looks like to speak the truth in love.

Last winter, a drunk driver hit my car where I parked it, in front of some friends' house in Northeast Portland. The driver subsequently abandoned his totaled car, fled the scene and wandered away, as I was left by the curbside, hoping to avoid him for as long as possible. Eventually the cops found him and charged him with a DUII. Later in the spring, the Multnomah County Courthouse called and invited me to make a victim's statement to the court. He’d already plead guilty, so I wasn't testifying against him, per se, but could say whatever I wanted to him and the court. 

As I sat down to write my statement, I thought of my paternal grandparents, both chronic alcoholics. My grandfather died from over-drinking and liver failure at the age of 58; my father was only eight-years-old. What would I say to them if I could honestly communicate my grief and desire for them to change their lives? 

This is what I wrote for the drunk driver that hit my car. But I also wrote it for my grandparents. And for me. 

To Roger Sizemore* and the Court

It is with great hope that I write this statement. 

I hope this is the last time that you are so intoxicated at 6pm on a Friday night in December that you can hardly stand up on your feet

I hope this is the last time you drive a car or bike or truck or Winnebago under the influence of drugs or alcohol

I hope this is the last time you run from the scene of a crime
I hope this is the last time you crash your car so hard that the wheels fall off

I hope this is the last time you try to drive your car away from a crash, after hitting two other cars with only three wheels remaining on yours, two times in twenty minutes

I hope this is the last time you lie to the cops when they find you at the local mini-mart and you deny anything to do with the crash

I hope this is the last time you tell the cops you walked 100 blocks on a cold winters night just to get a pack of cigarettes

I hope this the last time you see the inside of a courtroom or jail cell or public defender's office

I hope this is the last time

I hope this is the time you find peace
I hope this is the time you dig into pain from your childhood or past

I hope this is the time you start attending Alcoholics Anonymous and tell the truth to others in your life about your pain and need for community

I hope this is the time that you wake up, Roger Sizemore

I hope this is the time that you find friends who can support you in sobriety

I hope this is the time you ask what wounds you're covering up with drugs and alcohol

I hope this is the time you write down your thoughts or make art or hike in the woods

I hope this is the time that you wake up, Roger Sizemore
I hope this is the time that you hear a voice that says, "Roger, you are loved, you worthy, you are enough"
I hope this is the time that you take stock of your life and your decisions

I hope this is the time you see beauty

I hope this is the time you can look at the pain in your world and figure out how to make something beautiful out of it

I hope this is the time you can feel love in your heart and not need to hide 

I hope this is the time that you wake up, Roger Sizemore

I hope this is the time you look back ten or fifteen or twenty years from now and say, "That was the turning point: the moment everything changed."

I hope this is the time your children and their children and their children can say that their dad and Grandpa Roger and Great Grandpa Roger made a huge change in his life 

I hope this is the time that you open yourself up to big love and to change and to being redeemed by God

I hope this is the time you wake up, Roger Sizemore

I hope this is the time you wake up

Thank you,

Mindy Haidle


*Name changed for privacy.