Daily Archives: March 24, 2015

Inside the behemoth court system

The three of us piled into the red Honda CRV and headed to the destination programmed into the Waze app. Traffic wasn’t heavy, and the route was simple. We knew we were getting close when the plethora of bail bond businesses appeared. The razor wire atop the tall chain link fence, more than anything, emphasized the stark seriousness of the place. I knew my son was in there somewhere and my heart shriveled in my chest as I imagined what it might be like inside those walls. We were hopeful that he would walk out those doors today and we would be reunited.

We found Courtroom D and remarked at the amazing lack of privacy here in this county, as every defendant was listed by name, along with the official numbers of the statutes and the various dates of warrants, etc.

Believing that it is infinitely better to arrive early than late, we slipped into the courtroom during the 8:30-10:00 session, the one prior to the one we were there for. We watched client after client stand before the judge and we got a sense of her tendency to be lenient. We saw this as a good sign. As amateur legal counsel, we knew exactly the outcome we were hoping for.

Finally, the last defendant for the session finished up and exited the side door to pay his fines. Next would be those defendants currently being held in jail. The first man who walked into the courtroom in handcuffs and shackled feet was a tall, Caucasian man with a large swastika tattooed on one entire side of his bald head. We were horrified and clung to each other, willing ourselves to remain calm. We sat through the majority of the thirty defendants for that session before they called my son’s name.

Between the swastika-clad man, and my son, there were many criminals representing even more crimes. Domestic violence, a son who had damaged his parents home in anger, multiple women– mothers– in for drug offenses. It wasn’t hard to see which of those people in orange jumpsuits had some things going for them, and which ones were really striking out in the game of life.

The world, or at least the court, boasts a preponderance of people who can’t get to court or community service or probation appointments because they have no transportation; lots of people who if they have a job, it’s at McDonald’s for the past three weeks. Quite a number who have been busy helping their sick grandmother. Many who really just want a chance, your honor, to get everything going in the right direction.

We noticed one thing that was consistent among almost all the prisoners brought in from the jail. As soon as they entered the courtroom, their eyes scanned the spectator section for a familiar face. Some found one. Many did not. When their charges were read, our hearts broke. Young people who had stolen from their parents. Men who had abused their women. Druggies  in every configuration possible of detox, recent user just waiting to get out and find their next fix, or at least giving lip service to the idea of rehab.

Our outcome was as positive as we had hoped, but there would still be over three more hours before a very broken-hearted young man would wait behind that thick, steel door waiting for it to eject him out of that dark, sad place. While we waited for him, a very angry probation officer swooped in and met with her incarcerated client within earshot. “Just who the HELL do you think you are telling the [somebody important person] that you were too busy to meet with him?”

Further waiting ensued as we jumped through hoops to prove we had brought a medication for our son (which he did not receive while there over the weekend) and then waited while the nurse went and looked again, finally finding it after a good twenty minutes.

Although this jail stay over the weekend was for something in the far distant past that just now caught up with us, it is now part of our present.

I am reminded of what the man said to me in another courtroom awhile back: this stuff just never leaves you alone. I think it can, though, if you somehow finally find a way to leave the stuff alone.

Boy, if parental and other adult resolve was all it took, our son would be in such great shape! But, alas, it’s not our journey, although we are part of it. Many times today, I began to feel the intensity of the wave, and I imagined myself atop the wave, on my surfboard, being a part of it without being crushed by it. One thing he’s certainly not lacking is a supportive, involved, resourceful family! Of course, we also have unhealthy communication patterns, tendencies toward co-dependency, and plenty of other foibles. Just a heaping healing helping of perfect imperfection. Another step on the journey of life.

A Trinity of Questions

I read about a fun exercise today called a trinity.  “A Brag, A Grateful, A Desire.”

Brag  — what can I be proud of right now?

Grateful — what  blessing in my life would I like to acknowledge?

Desire — if money, time, and the laws of physics were no object, what would I desire?

Source: Regena Thomashauer (Mama Gena) referenced in Christiane Northrup’s latest book, Goddesses Never Age.

Well, it was fun until I started to answer the questions, and lo and behold, I got all vulnerable feeling and hesitant to answer the questions.

It’s easy to answer the questions if I keep them at arm’s length. What can I be proud of right now? My dang kids. I could go on for paragraphs and pages about each of them and their wonders. Easy peasy. Harder to answer the question if I look inside my own skin.

Grateful for? Again, easy to answer if I stay superficial. Husband, kids, home, health, the usual suspects. I am truly grateful for them, but I feel a tug toward a deeper consideration of the question.

And the desire? THAT is the hardest question in the history of the universe. As I’m learning to let go of control, to lean into asking for things I might not get, to trust the process and take the next step, I recognize that answering this question is important. Pressing through the fear, having courage to ask for what I desire.


Dear blog readers.

What can I be proud of right now?

I can be and am proud of my willingness to learn new tricks (even though somewhat old dog).
I am proud of my willingness to try new things.
I am proud of my resilience and flexibility.

In Sylvester Stallone’s movie, Rocky Balboa, Rocky is tested to see if he still has a spark, if he can still get up after being knocked down. That movie made me cry big time because that is one of the questions that life is asking me.

from the motivationmentalist.wordpress.com

Do you still have it, Suz? Are you willing to keep getting up even though getting knocked down hurts? And I say YES I AM.

What blessing in my life would I like to acknowledge?

I would like to acknowledge the blessing of my five senses and all the wonderful things they have had the privilege of smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing, and feeling, lo these many years.

I am SO grateful that I can  …
see the blue of the sky
and all the colors of the spectrum
smell the coffee my husband makes every day
and the freshness of the outside air
taste tiramisu
and the smoothness of chocolate
hear the most amazing music on the planet
and the wind chimes that sing to me all day
feel the affectionate hugs of my children
and the touch of my husband
and the cold air on my face
and the warm water cascading over me in the shower
and the curves and lumps and perfect imperfections of my own body
I am SO grateful that I can.

And if money, time and the laws of physics were no object, what would I desire?

I would love to live near water and mountains. To walk out my front door and see water, and out my side door and see mountains and out my back door and see trees. I want to travel to Europe and see the countryside of France, the mountains of Switzerland, the fjords of Norway, the cathedrals of Spain, the sights in the fog of England, and much more. I want to go back and see my friends in Australia.  I want to be remembered for the love I give, the joy I share, and the impact I make.

Your turn. A brag, a grateful, and a desire. Are you game?