Isaiah 3:13 13 The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.
Talia had to prepare her first-ever trial transcript this week, and because it’s totally different than depositions in formatting and language, I told her I wanted to proofread it myself rather than one of our regular proofers. She had complained and complained about the acoustics in the courtroom and the attorney who talked like he had marbles in his mouth, how her ears hurt from pressing the headphones in so deep to try to pick up what he was mumbling. She has a tendency to exaggerate, so I didn’t pay much attention to her griping. I should have, though!
I remember when she came home from her first deposition and said it was terrible, she couldn’t hardly understand a word the guy said, that he talked so low and gravelly that she was three sentences behind trying to sort out what he was saying, on and on and on. She always has been a good storyteller, and sometimes she embellishes on the details, so we just laughed and said, “Oh, yeah, Talia, I’m sure it was!” I proceed to rail on about “Let me tell you about some witnesses I’ve had!” She goes to her car and gets her backup recorder and says, “No, you’re not hearing me. Listen to this guy!”
She turns on the recorder, and out comes this growling sound, kind of like you would do if you were pretending to be a bear. “RRRRRR.” Honestly, it sounded exactly like the people who do the “Do not smoke” commercials that have their finger over that little hole in their throat. All of us were sitting around the table listening to this when she pushes “Play” like a maestro, needing to prove her point. We all were like, “What?? What was wrong with him?” She recounts that he said he had smoked his whole life, like several packs a day, and he said he just kept getting worse and worse.
Anyway, that wasn’t the story for today, but today’s story reminded me of that event. I’m reading this transcript, and I thought she did a great job, not very many “off” things, so I forgot about her saying she had a hard time hearing. There was one point where the Judge says to the marble-mouth lawyer “You know I can’t hear a word you say.” And then again later, the Judge says, “I can’t understand a word you say.” Well, we get to this one point in the transcript, and something just wasn’t right – it didn’t make sense, and seemed like something was missing. I ask Tal what is up with that part and she’s like, “I have no idea – you listen and see.” We’re both sitting at our kitchen table at the time, computers and papers spread everywhere, trying to get through 775 pages together. She passes over the computer and sticks the headphones in my ears.
She turns on the audio and all I hear is this huge roar of a fan and beneath the fan real low is this “garble, garble, garble” kind of like someone talking under water. My eyes bug out and I practically scream, “What?? THIS is what you’ve had to listen to for 775 pages??” She begins to laugh and says, “I TOLD YOU! Listen to it about six more times, and you’ll finally realize there’s a human trying to talk in there.” I listened and listened, and honestly, I couldn’t make heads nor tails out of it. I could pick up enough to make the sentence seem right, but only God knows if it was perfect or not. I take the headphones out and say, “Well, I thought you did a good job before hearing this, but now I’m really impressed!” She says, “Well, my ears are about broken, and I practically have callouses from pressing the headphones in”……see what I mean about exaggerations?
We keep reading, and honestly, we were both so bleary-eyed and tired that it’s a wonder we were sitting up straight. We both had had to work the two days we were doing this, so we wouldn’t start reading until late in the afternoon anyway. Let me tell you a little bit about this case so the next part will make sense. This was in a very rural county, and there was this family who did not have their children at the hospital, they had no birth certificates, they never went to school, no electricity or running water in the house, and there were seven kids, five boys and two girls. The father and one brother had already been convicted of sexually molesting the girls, and the father even testified that “Well, my brothers and I fooled around with our sisters, so yeah, I figured my boys were also.” It was a bad bad deal.
One of the brothers who had not been charged yet was named Forest. One of the sisters had testified he also abused them, but so far he hadn’t been indicted. So the prosecutor is in his closing argument, and he says, “This brother forced his sister” -- and up jumps marble-mouth and screams into the courtroom, “Forest hasn’t even been charged with anything!” The prosecutor turns around and says, “I said ‘forcible.’” The Judge then says, “No, you said ‘forced.’” When I read that, I began to laugh hysterically! Talia looks over at me with this “What’s wrong with you – I’m trying to read here” look. I read it to her and say, “Even they can’t hear what they’re saying!” This leads to Tal acting it out, of course, and we both laughed until we cried. Proof of how tired we were, as I’m sure you guys are not seeing it’s that funny. I guess you had to be there.
For some reason, that has stuck with me this week, and I’ve laughed over it several times. As I was laughing over it, God began to speak to me. He says, “When I say things to you, it’s in a still small voice, and you don’t seem to hear me sometimes either. And you don’t listen hard and harder and longer and take more time to make sure you heard what I said; you just move on to the next thing.” And how right he is. How many times do we stop everything, turn up the “God ears” and listen and listen and listen, trying to make sure we don’t miss that tiny small voice?
I would encourage you today – put in those “God headphones” and press so hard that you get callouses…..all of us will be better for it!
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.