This last coupe of weeks of my law school career has been really, really weird so far, far more so than i would have imagined. The finals themselves have gone ok so far (I think I got my C in Environmental Law & Conflicts of Law, and I might have a shot at a B in Capital Punishment… btw, for non L-school folks who think that sounds bad, average grades at my law school are in the C range), but there’s much due this last week — I have a final in Secured Transactions on Wednesday morning (which I absolutely dread… I was so lost in that class this semester, or rather just hard time tuning my brain in), and then on Thursday I have a big crapload of stuff due (takehome final in Comparative law, the big directed research term paper, as well as the documentation on the externship I’m doing).
I don’t know why though with all of this stuff coming due that I’m having such a hard time focusing but I am. Everything seems so . . . I don’t know what the word is, but I feel like I’m at the circus I’m up high on the platform about to jump into a small tub of water 100 feet below me. I don’t know how to explain it but I just wonder what the point of it all is and how I got myself in so deep?
I’m sure I’m just having post-graduation anxiety and that all will turn out well but it still seems pretty scary and I feel awfully out of sorts right now.
One thing though that I did stumble across today was some stuff I wrote back in the summer of 2001 (see day 4 and day 5 of my reviews of Cornerstone 2001). The semester before I had finished a post-bachelor’s degree internship program in campus ministry in Austin (a rewarding but also confusing and difficult experience), but I had decided to work for my Dad that summer back in Oklahoma, before going to San Marcos, TX in the fall (for possibly grad school in journalism (I ended up only doing that for a semester, but mostly because I thought somehow God was leading me there… that’s a whole other story). Anyway though that summer in Newcastle was an eye-opening one in which I began to see how evil and twisted the American criminal justice system is, and how poor people are continually screwed by the system, almost as if the system was designed for that very purpose. And it was through that experience that I began to seriously consider law school.
Well anyway in the middle of that summer, I took off for a week or so traveling and trying to figure what my life was about. I went to New York City for a few days (because I was considering a law school up there and also because a girl really digged had moved there… my time there was enjoyable, but showed me that my life was not to be in NYC and not to be with that girl either, even though she was pretty cool). Then after NYC, I caught a plane to Chicago and then took Amtrak down to rural Illinois to attend what had become an annual tradition for me, Cornerstone Festival (a Christian music/arts/culture festival that is ran by a somewhat-leftist yet evangelical Christian commune — sort of a tamer version of Woodstock without the sex and drugs… well I’m sure there’s was some of both going on but its definitely frowned up… well I guess married sex is ok, but that is beside the pooint ).
So for the rest of the week at C-stone I camped there (which unlike my prior days there, I came by myself instead of driving up with friends) and enjoyed the music and running into a few old friends. But along with the music and ribeye sandwiches and the camping with 20,000+ other people, I also attended some seminars that would prove to be rather life changing and ended up being the last puzzle piece to fall in place in turning me into a rather left-leaning peace-loving kind of Christian.
The seminars were part of the La Cour des Miracles (Court of Miracles) tent that was organized by Andrew Mandell. The folks I heard that really hit me were Kathy Kelly (founder of Voices in the Wildernesss, who has since been such an inspiration in my life in so, so many ways), and Dr. Richard Korn (a psychologist who focuses on prison reform issues). I also thought (but strangely enough I didn’t right about it in the reviews of the festival that I wrote) that this was the year that I heard the speaker from Christian Peacemaker Teams (the guy was a Mennonite strawberry farmer from Indiana who had been on the delegations to Columbia), as well as some sessions with some Voices in the Wilderness delegates who had just returned from Iraq.
Also I’m pretty sure that this was the year (again, I didn’t write about it which surprises me) that I attended a discussion forum in which something pretty revelational was said (in fact, I don’t remember what the topic of the forum was, except that it was something controversial). In the context of the forum, one man was questioning Andrew Mandell pretty pointedly about what he was presenting, so Andrew responded by saying that the questioner should read Amos (the Old Testament prophet who spoke against the rich who were exploiting the poor of his day) if he wanted to understand the issue.
Well that made me think, because I couldn’t recall what the book of Amos was even about, so I decide to read it that week, and in the reading stumbled across this verse…
For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins – you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. – Amos 5:12
That verse hit me a lightning bolt because the city gate was the courthouse of that day, in which parties to a dispute would bring their concern to the elders of the city for judgement. In reading it, I realized that the very same thing was happening today, and in that moment I decided I wanted to practice law to seek to set things right.
And I did start law school about a year later and it has been crazy ride, and honestly I now wonder what in heck was I thinking? I don’t know. I still do think that God brought me to this place, but there’s much I don’t understand and I frankly have a hard time having the faith that I once had. Life seems far more bleak and hard now than it did then.
Anyway I’m sorry for my depressed verbage but oh well. Now back to the stupid paper…