I was in court last Tuesday, supporting the child advocates who volunteer with the child abuse and neglect advocacy agency that I oversee, when a twenty-eight year old woman entered and sat alone on a bench. I’ll call her Rocky.
Nine months ago, when Rocky’s son was removed from her care due to her drug use, she left the courtroom in tears. I followed her into the foyer. “I’m Pam,” I said. “Would it be all right if I give you a hug?”
She was too distraught to speak, but she nodded. In the busy foyer, with people coming and going, we embraced. Rocky’s arms tightened around me. She wept on my shoulder for awhile before releasing her hold.
Sometimes, the parents I see in court are too fearful, too angry, too bewildered, or too addicted to participate in the services ordered by the judge and they flee. Several weeks after meeting Rocky, she left town.
The parent child bond is strong enough that most AWOL parents eventually return. I was relieved to see Rocky back in court and hopeful that she would take the steps necessary to become healthy, steps that would lead to the reunification with her son.
Usually, Rocky has on a lot of black: black jeans with a chain around the waist, black shirt, and white makeup with her eyes outlined in black. But on this day, she had on blue jeans, a t-shirt, and little makeup.
Seeing her sitting alone, during a lull in the proceedings, I took a place beside her on the cool, hard bench. “Hi,” I whispered.
Rocky nodded. “Hi,” she whispered.
“How are you?”
Several more cases were heard. Each time the judge spoke and whenever the attorneys and case workers replied to his inquiries, Rocky watched them, and I could tell she was listening, mulling over their comments, maybe even drawing her own conclusions.
During another lull, I whispered another question. “Is this interesting to you?”
“What?” she whispered.
“The law. Does it interest you?”
“Yeah. I’ve been in and out of court my whole life.”
“That means you have a lot of experience. Why don’t you do what they’re doing?” I asked, motioning to the attorneys, twenty-five feet in front of us.
Perhaps, you wonder why I would say something like this to a young woman caught in the trap of addiction. My answer is simple. Without a vision, the people perish—Proverbs 29:18. I sincerely believed what I suggested to Rocky and maybe I helped her have a vision for her life. She might not be cut out to be an attorney, but what if she is? Maybe my words will lead her to begin thinking of what she wants to do with her life. Vision…that’s what I was trying to impart to her and my hope is that it worked.