The Spirit of Justice

Timothy - Dubuque, Iowa
Entered on March 1, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The Spirit of Justice

I believe in the spirit of justice, a divine spirit who lives above us all, who is incarnate and empowering. This spirit held my hand in 1981, when a landlord locked me from a little gas station I ran from a corner of a main street in a western Chicago suburb. Everything changed with the shining, new padlock left on the door to my business.

I called the law firm of Aaron, Aaron, Schimberg and Hess. I met with old Charles Aaron, sitting at a desk Abraham Lincoln once used. In my heart, a prayer, “Please let the truth be known.”

“Prepare for a battle royal,” the old man said.

In the Chicago court the defendant’s attorney asked the judge about a birthday party. In minutes the judge removed our case to another county. We became heir to Chicago justice, circa Operation Greylord. Our case changed venues and judges several times. The first year my mom died, the second, my dad. We lost our home and moved to Wisconsin. In those years I finished both college and graduate school. Seven years after sitting at Lincoln’s desk, we settled. The money paid bills.

In 1990 I sold lubricants for an oil blender in Milwaukee and entered a doctorate program in Rehabilitation Psychology. It felt right.

One day, at the end of selling and studying, I came home to a note taped to the kitchen table – my wife couldn’t take it, she said. Somehow, I understood. To my spouse, the flickering light of dreams was a mirage. She could never exit the sink hole of those days of corrupt courts.

I froze in time to the years of five dollar Christmases that we endured. I remembered dark nights with phoned death threats for us to quit. The landlord’s attorney worked for Joey ‘The Doves’. I felt pain had found its role and now was the time of endings. Still, the days of unfair rule would live on.

Now, the county court stepped into our living room. Soon I would be in jail, breaking a restraining order. My wife had invited me home for a birthday in 1990. In case 1990CF 100397, I was found guilty of Disorderly Conduct. It was my 39th birthday.

Two years later I filed for divorce.

On December 15 of last year I received an e-mail from my son Matthew. I cried as I read. I had not had contact with my children for nineteen years. Matt said his mother had hidden them, said he did not understand what happened.

The county court had told me their whereabouts was none of my business. I tried to find my children for all those years and failed.

Now, in this end – beginning, I feel the spirit of justice that had never left and was never present in any court, with any judge or a part of any system of social liberty.

Family survived. God’s justice prevailed.