Several years ago during my orientation to law school we entered an auditorium where judges, lawyers, psychologists, social workers and professors gave all us newbies the low down on lawyers. According to them we are all drunken, depressed, divorced, drug addicts. One of the speakers also made everyone look to the left then to the right, at which point he stated that only one of us would be there at graduation. Sitting among a fresh crop of clean cut well dressed counterparts I couldn’t help feeling that all eyes were on me; the long curly headed bleach blond red head with a goatee, tattoos and an earring.
Well, I beat all those odds, and graduated from law school. No longer bleach blond, but still with tattoos and an earring. I began practicing in the Mississippi Delta, the land of Robert Johnson, and the birthplace of the blues. At first I loathed the idea of being there. It was hot, impoverished, desolate, like a whole country of its own that the rest of the world had forgotten. Around that same time I went through a very messy divorce, and heard echoes from that first day of law school. In fact, my dog even died on me which made me think that I was living the lyrics of one of those blues songs.
But I pushed forward. Determined not to become one of those statistics I had heard about just a few years before. And the delta began to grow on me. The people are different in the delta. They talk different, they act different, and slowly I became a part of that. See in the delta things have been difficult for years, there are not many jobs, the farming is seasonal and mostly mechanized, and it would be easy for many people to grow weary and give up. But the people of the delta are a determined sort.
My career has now taken me to a larger town, back in the rolling hills of the Tennessee Valley, away from the Delta. But I learned many things during my tenure over there. I gave the Delta a second chance because at the time I was desperate, and couldn’t see things getting any worse. But it was really the Delta that gave me a second chance. The work I did in the delta earned me a better career opportunity; the people of the delta loved me like one of their own when I felt like no one else did.
There are many things I took from the Delta, many second chances. But the most important thing I took from there is my beautiful fiancé, who has given me a second chance at life, and a second chance at love.
I believe in second chances because without being given one I might already be one of those statistics that they still scare kids about in Law School Orientation.
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