During the course of my practice, I have seen people react desperately when faced with the idea of losing custody of their child. A couple of years ago, I was walking in the grocer and saw a young man feeding his little dog. He was happily tossing bits to the dog and smiling at everyone. I slipped some money in the Salvation Army pot and he said, “You dropped a dollar.. hey, I like your dress”.. not paying attention, gathering my money for the charity said, “I like your dog! Thank you”.
He said, “I know you.” He reminded me of his name, fidgeting and looking around as he spoke. He went on to say “you look good” and introduced me to his dog. In his early twenties when I represented him fifteen years or so ago. He didn’t pay his bill after multiple entreaties and I withdrew from his case. The day of the trial he kidnapped his baby Momma, put her in the back of a car, and crossed the Tennessee line. He was apprehended after two preachers (of all things) saw someone throwing things out the back of the trunk. He went to prison for federal kidnapping. He sent me a letter saying it was my fault. In his mind, it was my fault because I wasn’t going to be there to represent him. And because I had told him if she didn’t show up he would get a default judgement. I DID NOT, however, tell him to kidnap her!
Looking in his eyes today, not so young.. probably in his forties.. I could see the mental illness. I could barely contain my tears as I walked through the store. I had seen him once before, just as he got out of prison. In Court he had been standing up before the Judge unrepresented.. I tried to help him and gave him some advice. Not knowing if he still blamed me or not. He was standing in his prison garb that day and I remember feeling fearful.
Today my heart is filled with love for him and for sadness about what he has gone through. All rights to his son stripped away. I wish I could go back and help him – to stop him from acting desperately.
So many people in this world don’t know where to turn. We can’t know how our actions are going to impact others. There was no way I could predict the turn this would take. After he went to prison, it was months before I could forget what had happened. I started writing about him and his son trying to make sense of what he was going through when he took her. We all have a journey. We can choose to look at life through the lens of love or fear.
In putting together Project Positive Change our intention is to put together a portal where people who are feeling desperate, sad, confused, and hopeless can find help from a collection of people who can guide them through.
Love, Light, and Positive Change!