Sunday morning, sat at a desk in uni in my favourite revision room at the front of the building – 4 floors up and a wall of windows on both sides of me so I can see out onto the street and also into the corridor. It’s great not to be hemmed in.
How do I feel? When I see other students walking past the room, I feel inferior. I look at them, all young and hopeful and I feel old, regretful of not making the decision to study sooner. Even with all my life and work experiences, although rich in depth, I still don’t feel confident to be able to take on any of these bright young things. Their enthusiasm is wonderful, refreshing. The ones in today are much further down the training path than I am – they will be leaving uni this summer and starting training contracts or pupillages. By the time I get to that point, they will have been working as fully qualified lawyers for a year or more.
So I am at the beginning of this training. But it is definitely not the beginning of my journey.
I think I need to work on my own self-esteem. If I’m not confident then how will I ever get a job? How will I ever be able to inspire anyone else to be confident in me?
The only relevant strength that I possess is I believe I am able to stick up for someone who can’t stick up for themselves – whether they are a defendant or a victim. I was shying away from criminal law – but more recently I’ve been hearing little niggles inside me for it. And what could be God’s still small voice whispering to me. I’m finding myself drawn to reading books called ‘Evidence’ and ‘Defending vulnerable adults’. I’m pretty sure that anyone who knows me fairly well will not be surprised at this. Probably less surprised than me!
So what is the problem? What’s holding me back? I don’t know if I am good enough. I have so much to get through. The law I’m studying now (EU) I’m finding very difficult. Perhaps because I am not interested in it? Well I do like it, but it is such a steep learning curve. I said the same about contract law, and did OK in the exam – 62, a commendation. I felt slightly more at ease in public law and gained 68. But this EU stuff? Pah.
I love criminology (hence my degree) and feel passionately that the law in itself discriminates against those with low incomes, ethnic minorities, women, and the less educated. If you are all of these then you often don’t stand a chance – unless of course you can access a good lawyer. Perhaps someone like me? Maybe? When I think of that, I get a passion, a drive. I can feel it well up inside of me. I want to defend the poor and needy! I want to help people seek justice!
To be honest, I don’t know if that is best done as a prosecutor or a defender- but I need to work that out. I need to know what God wants me to do, because it affects which training route I take after this Graduate Diploma in Law. I sometimes wonder if all of this is God’s plan just because He wants me to help one specific person in one particular case. I wish I knew. But I don’t. It is an exciting thought though. If only I believed I was good enough.
I know I’m not. But HE is!
The best I can do is put my hope in Him and keep plodding through the work that is in front of me. Right now its the Free Movement of Goods. Sigh.
And as for feeling frumpy and old. Well the truth is I am older than the students that are here today, by at least 15/20 years. And I do look frumpy. I am still 40-50lbs overweight and I’ve not made any effort with my appearance today at all to be honest.
Today I let it get me down.
And I have compared myself, my life, not just with the younger students but also with the people I can see out on the streets of Leeds below me. People in couples, in groups of friends, sat outside restaurants and bars in the sun, laughing and chatting, enjoying time together. Parents and children out shopping, or just having a wander. While I’m sat up here by myself. And I’ll go home by myself to a nearly empty house (thank the Lord for my 2 little cats). I know I’ll never have children, I reluctantly accepted that when I had the hysterectomy, and I doubt if I’ll ever have a romantic relationship again – especially when I feel so down on myself, not the most attractive of quality is it? I genuinely can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to be in a relationship with me.
But enough of that.
You know who else I can also see out of the window? I can see a couple of people sat in shop doorways begging. Sat amongst the empty bottles, cigarette ends and kebab wrappers – other peoples’ rubbish, the remnants of last night’s revelers on a night out in town. They’re trying to get shade from the sun, and money – for what, maybe food, maybe drugs or alcohol. See how quickly I judge from up here in my glass tower?People are walking past them, some stop to give or smile, but not many.
I am so ungrateful sometimes. How ugly my selfishness can be! I look to Jesus and remember how much He has given me. Not only do I have His love, and some wonderful family and friends, and all my basic needs met, I have opportunity and choice. It might have taken me a long time to get to this position, but I am here. And I want to get through this, all of it – the ugly sin, the self-pity, this law training, the weight-loss, the lack of confidence and low self-esteem, the past hurts, the heart surgery, the fears. I want to get through all of it so I can get back out into the world and fight for others, to protect those who need it, to come alongside people when they are at their most vulnerable, listen to them and stand up for them. Not just with the law but with the Gospel, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I am open to Him leading me to who needs Him, and I pray I can be of use in the fight for justice.
“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.”
Love L x