From time to time I am asked how I cope, spending so much time dealing with peoples’ problems. I find people fascinating, so I can’t say that there has been a whole lot of heavy lifting. I have also been fortunate to work with great people, who make the burden of running a law office lighter.
I have observed many aspects of human behavior, from the lowest to the divinely inspired.
Hemingway wrote that “the world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
I have seen self-confidence and strength emerge where fear and uncertainty once prevailed.
When that break happens, I have the privilege to assist a fellow human being through the legal process. I have found that as a lawyer, the advice I give has an effect on the client. The client is looking to the lawyer for clues of how to make a new life from the broken pieces of their marriage and family. The client is looking for clues on how to behave. They have a need to channel emotions that betray understanding. A lawyer can be a force for good. This is what I think about.
It is unfortunate that people revert to their baser instincts if not guided to a higher place. I try to lift clients above their baser instincts. Emotions do not serve us well in the sphere of family law dispute resolution.
As human beings we all suffer in various ways. Some people have trouble recognizing that their own behavior causes much of their own problems. It is my job to bring that reality to a client’s attention, where it exists.
It is also through suffering that we all experience growth. The dark space of difficulty can lead to a new understanding, a new hope for the possibilities that life still holds. Leonard Cohen put it this way: “Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in…”
It is good to witness that light and to know that no one and no relationship is perfect. The crack, the imperfection, is really where life gets interesting. It is in that crack of imperfection that I do my best work. It is a privilege that I enjoy.