Unforgiven

A testimony in three persons

The stage appears empty except for a single chair, center, facing right. A man sits on it backwards, facing left, hugging the back of the chair. His expression is grim. A single spotlight shines down on him. Another man walk out from right, and stands looking at him from the semi-darkness. The first man speaks, but remains facing left.

I:
I don't want to talk about it.
God:
You're still angry with her, I see.
I:
I said, I don't want to talk about it! [pause] I am not going to forgive her. [pause] And I'm not going to repent of being angry with her, even if I did say some horrible things. And if you don't like it, that's your problem!
God:
[quietly] It's not really about her, is it?
I:
No, actually, it isn't. I trusted you. You said things would be different this time. Well, they weren't. Frankly, I'm just sick of putting up with this.
God:
You realize nothing will change until you deal with this. That you will just go on hurting yourself and other people...
I:
I said I don't want to talk about it!
God:
[soft, but insistent] Turn and look at me.
I:
No. If you want to see me, you come over here.
God:
[with patience yet finality] I will go to any lengths to talk with you. That is why I came down here. But I will not let you disrespect me. We will talk when you are ready for it. [exit, right]

I hear him exit, half-rise to turn, then give up and slump dejectedly back into the seat. Jesus enters from right, comes up behind me and starts massaging my shoulders. I accept it, but stay tense.

JC:
I see you had another fight with Dad. [pause] He really loves you, you know.
I:
[bitterly, but willing to talk] He sure has a funny way of showing it!
JC:
Oh, come on, you know its not his fault.
I:
[sarcastically] Oh really, then whose fault is it? [turn to look at him, and suddenly remember to whom I am talking, and that I can't bluff] Oh. [I bow my head] Yeah, I know.
JC:
You really should talk to him.
I:
[crying] But, how can I? I said some pretty horrible things to him. And -- he left me.
JC:
I know. That is why I came, to take you to him. Besides, he's been waiting just outside the door. [He takes me by the hand and lifts me up. I stumble right. The Father enters and wraps me in his arms. I weep. Jesus looks on with joy.]
I:
Oh God, I'm so sorry.
God:
It's OK, Ernie. Really. I forgive you. [waits until the weeping stops, then lifts my head and looks at me with a curious expression] Do you forgive me?
I:
[puzzled] How do you mean?
God:
For bringing you into a world full of pain. For letting you learn from your own mistakes. Are you willing to let go of your hurt, and let me bear that burden for you?
I:
[not understanding, but willing to trust] I -- I think so.
God:
And what about her?

I step back and sit in the seat, but this time facing God. God takes a seat which Jesus has unobtrusively brought forward, facing me.

I:
[sigh] I ­ I really don't know, God. I mean, I want to, but I'm afraid to let go of the pain. I've been hurt so much. I feel that I need to remember, so that I won't let her or anyone else do that to me again [almost pleading].
God:
[after appearing to consider the problem seriously] How about if Jesus agreed to hold onto that pain for you?
I:
[surprised] He can do that?
God:
[smiling] Certainly. Watch.

Jesus comes over behind me and places his hands on my temples, as if physically absorbing all my stress. He picks up a sharp steel spike from somewhere and begins to inscribe something on the palm of his hand.

I:
[jumping to my feet] Wait! Doesn't that hurt?
JC:
[smiling, though it obviously does] It's okay, Ernie, I can take it. This, too, is a reason I came.

He walks off left. The room has grown brighter, and now the shadow of a cross appears on the background. God the Father and I face left together, his arm around my shoulder. The sounds of a hammer on steel ring out. Horror and wonder war across my face.

God:
It is okay, Ernie. Really. He loves you as much as I do. If it wasn't for this, I couldn't even be here with you now.
I:
[turning, with tears] You really do love me, don't you?
God:
More than you'll ever know. [We embrace. Blackout]
The story you have just heard is true.
The names have not been changed, for I am not innocent.
But I am forgiven.

Copyright ª1994, Ernest N. Prabhakar (ernest@caltech.edu)
434 S. Catalina #301; Pasadena CA, 91125; (818) 568-9168

May be reproduced or performed freely provided appropriate credit is given.
Ernest N. Prabhakar April 30th, 1994


Unforgiven was converted on Wed Aug 14 22:47:51 PDT 1996 by the eText Engine, version 5, release 0.95