I hear the thunder, deep, rolling, scary thunder.
I see 3:00 in red. That would be the LED alarm clock. “It’s 3 am,” I hear my inner voice say.
I hear another voice; it’s a little boys voice, my grandson’s voice. I’m a little surprised. My inner voice says, “Remember, the grandkids are spending the night here.” That’s nice.
I hear the thunder, deep, rolling, scary thunder, and the little boy’s voice again. He is trying to comfort himself. An inner voice says, “A little boy should not have to comfort himself at 3 am.” No? no. Well, then who? “You.” Me? “Yeah, you’re the grandpa.” No, I’m a lawyer. “Hey, knucklehead, you’re the grandpa.” That’s nice.
I hear the thunder, deep, rolling scary thunder. “Get up you idiot.” I’m not an idiot; I’m a lawyer. “Get up, you knucklehead!” I lumber out of bed to be met in the hall by a little boy looking up with wide eyes, it’s my grandson Joshie, “I heard the thunder; it’s scary.” Apparently a 6-feet, 2-inch giant walking grandpa-zombie is scarier because this little boy runs back to bed. I follow.
You don’t have to be a little boy to experience fear. Adult lawyers have that little voice that says, “Hey, you idiot, the negative committee has taken a vote and decided you can’t do it; give it up.” Can’t do what? Fill in the blank. You can’t handle the case; you can’t handle the pressure; you can’t handle your senior partner, etc. You get the idea. Fear surrounds us, and it’s our constant companion. But there’s more; once we buckle down and work harder, we hear another voice, it’s your spouse; it sounds like this, “Why are you working so late? Why are you working on Saturday? What about the kids?” You try to put that voice out of your mind, but it haunts you, pulls at your emotions, which you stuff. You are good at stuffing emotions. If they give black belts in stuffing emotions and ignoring personal problems, we lawyers would be past masters. Typically, we lawyers self-medicate to escape the pressure, which feels good for a while, but all of our efforts to feel good act like bungle cords, and we get snapped right back into the brokenness. Oh, wait, it gets worse as we discover that fear does not travel alone but quickly invites its friend’s doubt, despair, hopelessness, and depression into your soul.
There is another way, which involves some deep thinking, reevaluating, and frankly moving against the flow of most of the profession. You can have a life and practice law. You start by calling a time out and make an appointment with yourself; we call it cave time. You shut the door, turn off your phone, close your laptop, and put a little sign on the door that says, “If you interrupt me, I will break your legs.” Kick back and think. You think about the foundational things first. You can organize the details later. Make cave time a regular feature of your life. Ok, back to our story.
I sit on the edge of Josh’s bed wondering what to say. I hear the thunder, deep, rolling, scary thunder. I say, “It’s like a big kettle drum, boom, boom, boom,” with hand motions. He looks up with an odd expression on his face as if to say, “That’s it? You’re the grandpa and that’s the best you got?” “Well…it is 3 in the morning, kid.” I rub my face.
I hear the thunder, deep, rolling, scary thunder. The little boy says something about Jesus. What’s that? Oh, sure, that’s more comforting. My thoughts turn to a quote I heard recently, “If anyone can predict his own death and resurrection, and actually pull it off, yeah I’m with him; I will just go with whatever he says”, and he says we should love each other.
I smile at my grandson. I rub his chest, that seems to help — “Goodnight grandpa”. “Good night, Joshie”. I stumble down the hall toward my bedroom. Comforting the afflicted. It’s what I do. “That’s a cliché, you simpleton.” I smile, yeah, yeah, it is. In bed again, next to Cindy sound asleep, she’s looking so pretty and peaceful. My last thought as I drift off is a question; is Jesus asleep at 3:00 in the morning?
It’s thundering again, deep, rolling thunder, somehow… now, it’s not so scary.