Monday, April 21, 2014

A Gift For The Lawyer

My canvas messenger bag I had was constantly running through my mind.  The bag was made of a beige canvas, and I had it for awhile.  Over time, however, especially with the amount of travel I do, the bag began to show signs of aging, wearing, and literally tearing.  Me - being one who doesn't believe in buying new things unless absolutely necessary - had those tears patched up with leather. 

The patches didn't last, nonetheless.  The tears kept widening.  I thought - oh, how am I going to find another messenger bag that looks as nice?  The bag was made by Calvin Klein, and I hadn't seen any design like it before or after.

I thought to myself that I should have it re-upholstered by my convertible top guy.  He's worked on both my 1967 Mustang Convertible and my BMW Z3.  I trust in his work.

But, he was even busy now.  The spring season - he told me - had brought him a flood of clients.  Everybody wants to be seen in Los Angeles with the car top down.

Being buried in legal work, I was unable to find the time to look for a new bag.  I mean - how important could it be for one to have a bag?  It's just that - a bag.  So, I buried the unfinished task at the bottom of the list.

Then, the day came where it no longer could wait.  I had my torn canvas messenger bag with me in court.  I sat in the lawyer's area, and the bailiff didn't believe I was a lawyer.  Yes, part of it was because I wasn't dressed in a suit, and I allegedly look young.  I was there to witness the judge's style and the way he ruled on decisions.  She also glanced at my torn bag and questioned if I was really an attorney.

The incident left me feeling embarrassed and ashamed.  Here, I was, a graduate of a great law school.  I was taking on cases for the poor, often times.  I took on cases that mattered - cases that have made it to the attention of senators, newspapers, and television.  But, I had never thought getting paid for them would be so hard.  My clients were just that - poor.

The way that bailiff judged me by my accessory kind of stung.  Yet, in my soul, I had made my resolve.  I'm a good lawyer.  I get things done.  Just starting my own law office, which I never planned on doing, came with some set backs.

So, I contacted customer service at Calvin Klein.  I thought it was the fastest way to get a new bag without using up tons of time to search for a new one.  Just a replacement would stop making me feel so shabby.

The excellent customer service representative asked which bag I wanted because the one I had was no longer in their inventory.  So, I chose a leather commuter bag from a picture she showed me.  She called me the day it came and the day before and told me that Calvin Klein had fedexed it to my place.

I thought that wasn't very necessary, but it was nice. 

After working hard that day, on boring stuff - like reviewing documents and thinking through the strategies for my cases - I found the package waiting for me.  I opened up the box.

And the actual leather bag was more impressive upon seeing it in person than in the photo.  The texture, grain, design, and quality were all outstanding.  I was astonished.  Really, I was.

When I saw it, I felt like God was telling me - No, I'm showing you your new identity.  This is the type of lawyer you are.  You're no longer a law student.  You deserve this for all your hard work.

In the ancient scriptures, you may know that Joshua - one of God's high priests, was on trial before Satan - the great adversary and accuser.  God rebukes the accuser and tells Satan that Joshua has great enough value to him that he snatched him from the fire.  As his life was tried before him, all Joshua could do is stand in filthy clothes to listen and watch.  God declares Joshua worthy and orders his filthy garments replaced with new clothes. 

It's said in Korean culture too that when someone is worthy enough to enter into Heaven, God will give him a new set of clothes.  So, I say this to you.  From the time I've passed the bar, until now, has been a trying year - full of conflict, hardship, and new experiences of pain, which called for great endurance.  But, endure.  The endurance will reveal character - and that character will go rewarded and be seen.

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