Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Lessons

I rushed into court this morning a couple minutes early, prepared to ask the judge to evict a commercial tenant.  The tenant usually doesn't show up to these hearings.  Today, he did.  He was a nice old man - reminded me a lot of Ryan's grandfather.  See, evicted tenants don't often show up to these hearings because they know they owe money and I can imagine it's  embarassing.  And I like it that way.  I don't want to look into the face of the person who's hard work and dreams I am about to destroy by asking the judge to sign the order.  It's too personal.  I had to quickly remind myself that I was there to do a job, even if I didn't want to.

Today's hearing was one of the easiest I've ever had.  The judge asked me two easy questions, then asked the tenant what he had to say.  He said he owed the money.  The judge signed my order.  Thank you.  Have a good day.

I walked behind the tenant as we left the courtroom and my heart ached.  As he held the door open for me, he introduced himself.  ARGH - now he has a name - TOO PERSONAL.  Heart sinks a little more.  Then tenant tells me that he's worked for 50 years and he's never had that happen.  I told him out of all of the things I have to do in my job, evictions were my least favorite.  He smiled and said Well, he'd been blessed, and he hoped I was blessed to.  As the tears began to well in my eyes, I wished him a good day and the best of luck and quickly made a B-line to my car.  

My easiest hearing ever had just turned into the most profound hearing of my career.  I was reminded that I want to use my legal knowledge and career to do good.  I don't want to cause people any pain.  This man reminded me of the importance of character in the midst of adversity - I'd just gotten him evicted, yet he smiled, and was even sympathetic to me.  It was an A HA moment for me today - one I had to share.

What a way to start the work week... already emotionally drained.

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