2 01 2008

I picked up a client today to go to court. She had a duffel bag with her and when she got in I jokingly said, “Moving?” She said, “As a matter of fact I am.” I was shocked. She has been living with her boyfriend and his young son for maybe 4 months. Aside from him watching too much football, she doesn’t have too much to complain about. She really loves him and he really loves her. Sure, they get frustrated with each other, but who doesn’t? And she adores the little person. Something horrible must have happened for her to leave.

She went on to tell me that she was leaving because he lied. He lied mostly by omission. As she was telling me the story, I was thinking that she may be overreacting. The more she talked, the more I agreed with her and more importantly, the more I admired her. Her line of thinking was that if he was willing to lie about this, then what else would he lie about? If she allows him to get away with this, then what else would he try to pull? And “sorry” is fine but brother, you better back it up with actions. As she talked, she cried. She will miss the baby. How will he manage to take care of the baby on his own? She told me she knew she would be back in a few days. She really needed to take the time for herself and she wanted him to feel her absence.

What is important to note about my young client is that 1. She is lucky to even be alive 2. She has had one of the hardest lives you can imagine. 3. She is just learning about what it feels like to be loved and to love herself. For this kid to come as far as she has is truly a miracle. For her to be standing up for herself and for what she believes in just astounds me. Not because I don’t think she has it in her, she does, but because of where she was just one year ago. I suppose I expected her to be focusing on her education , job searching, basic life stuff. She didn’t even know what unit price was until I taught her a couple of months ago. When I took her case she couldn’t even label her feelings and here she is now saying “You know what pal, I’m better than that and you better figure it out real quick!” I have put up with lies by omission and even worse things! Here before me is a strong, emotionally healthy, take no shit woman. My client reminded me to take no shit, to stand up for myself and what I believe in.

I love my job. I love that I get to help people every day. It doesn’t pay much but what I get to give more than makes it worth it. I got something back today, something I never expected to get. This young woman would have killed to have my life, a life that from my view has been at times hard and scary and frustrating. When I think of what she has been through I am reminded of just how lucky, for lack of a better word, I have been. It’s all relative I know, but still.

I have been telling her since I met her that she is one of those people who is going to change the world. Today she changed me.




2 responses

2 01 2008

I’ve learned a lot from some unfortunates I took to court. I learned enough to quit practicing law.

3 01 2008

You’re also really lucky to love your job. Good day, huh?

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