Justice for All


Growing up, I always heard people complain about their jobs.

“Well, it pays the bills, but it’s not good for much else.”

“….the daily grind…”

As a kid, this did not jive with the promising, “the future is yours!” idea of adulthood I had.

In fact, I think it affected a lot of my decisions.

I didn’t really think much about what I wanted to do until high school, because I figured I wasn’t going to enjoy it anyway, so why spend so much time thinking about it?

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, and things are very, very different.

Sitting at a vigil for Kelly Gissendaner, a woman who has been on death row (unjustly, might I add, but that’s another story), I realized that I had been suppressing my dream.

In high school, after meeting Karen Spears Zacharias and listening to her talk about Karly Sheehan, a child who was murdered by those who should have been protecting and loving her, I thought law school might be my thing. Then, when I got to Wesleyan, I pushed that aside and decided I’d go for whatever would make me enough money to buy an F250. I had lost some of my compassion and drive to help people.

But sitting in a folding chair at the vigil, between some of the Struggle Sisters (Kelly’s closest friends) I regained some of that.

How could I just sit by while a woman is killed for a crime she didn’t commit? While the man who did commit it is waiting to get out of prison on parole in a few years?

How could I let the world stray from justice?

Sitting here tonight, having had a great day at the law office I work for, I realized something.

There are only a few people I have never heard complain about their jobs.

Sure, they’ve had bad days, but they have so much drive and compassion that it outshines the bad stuff.

One is my Mama. She worked for Hospice for a few years during our stint as a Daring Duo. She took me to work with her once, and I remember watching her with the people she talked to, and just knowing that she was the perfect person to help them through their struggles. The way she still speaks of

Among other family members and friends, Hugh Hollowell runs Love Wins, a nonprofit ministry for friends that don’t have it quite as well as some of us do. Aside from having been Facebook friends for awhile, I had the honor of meeting Hugh a few months ago. Sure, some days, things just don’t go the way he’d like them to. But the fire in his eyes when he talks about what he does–you just know he loves it.

The difference between people like Hugh & my Mama and those who were always complaining is this–they are doing something they are passionate about. They found a way to take an issue or something they enjoy and turn it into their ways of life–their livelihoods.

When you’re not driven by what you’re doing, you’re not as happy.

All too often, we force ourselves to “do things we don’t necessarily want to do” in the words of my MaeMae, which is good, we should get out of our comfort zone sometimes–and we should work hard for what we want. But when we are forsaking our joy and the capability to truly live life–is it worth it?

I’m incredibly lucky to have found something that makes me excited to get up every morning–excited to file motions and answer the phone. I don’t plan on taking it for granted.

So thank you, to those of you who showed me that you CAN love what you do.

You made this whole future lawyer thing happen.