I held my breath, trusting that life would work itself out. I sat on the bench this morning, surrounded by the familiar smells that languished in the halls of the musty, old courthouse. It smelled vaguely of old worn leather, of decaying files, dashed hopes and dreams, desperation and resignation. The smells wrapped around me like an old memory that lingers in your heart; one that taps on your door until you slowly open it.
I cautiously allowed the memory to enter and saw myself as a young girl following my father through a courthouse. He held my hand and his briefcase as he made his way from one office to another. He was always friendly and kind, and many would stop to shake his hand or share a story. I thought then that he was a handsome and happy man, but this day offers the reality that he must have carried many heavy burdens in that worn,leather briefcase of his.
I was waiting for my own lawyer as I watched several attorneys carry their large briefcases up and down the hall, followed by clients who looked anxious, afraid and stoic as they tried to keep up. Those attorneys are charged with holding their clients precious future in their hands, and that is a heavy burden indeed.
I walked out of the courthouse a bit later with a heavy heart knowing that my journey was going to be delayed a few more months, but quickly reminded myself about how lucky I was indeed. Although the circumstances were painful, my choice to leave law school and a career as an attorney to pursue a career in education has given me so many thousands of incredibly happy days. Days that are not wrapped in the scent of old leather and dashed dreams, but of bubble gum, cotton candy, happiness and great expectation.
Sure, I carry a person’s future in my hands for a year or so, but my clients are three feet tall, five years-old and are usually happy, giggling, naïve, joyful and thrilled at what life has to offer. I take their hand, and with a smile on my face I turn their faces towards the sun.