I was celebrating a win in my role as mom in “friday night lights” at the local pub, and as it always seems to happen, I made eye contact with the one person there who was scoping the crowd hoping for an opportunity to tell a sad tale. I looked away as quickly as possible to no avail, because the stool next to mine was quickly scooped up and the waft of Miller lite and tobacco indicated a sad and teary story was about to begin anyway…especially when these words were uttered, “you’re a lawyer, right?” It didn’t matter that I repeated the fact that I wasn’t licensed anymore, and that I couldn’t therefore give any legal advice. I heard the whole sordid story anyway ending with “and I’m being screwed and it’s not my fault”. As an aside, this kind of uncomfortable situation happens to me all the time, whenever I’m at town events, perfect strangers feel compelled to tell me all their problems…seriously, I have stories. I live and work in a small town…and generally have no filter when it comes to telling people what I truly think about something. So here I am with all the football families, many of whom are patients at our clinic and I have to remind myself: “what would my football player son and doctor husband say in this situation?” I realized that they would never tell this person to, “first of all, sober up, quit smoking and generally take responsibility for your life and for God’s sake brush your teeth and make an appointment to see the dentist”. So I listened, offered a few non-legal common sense suggestions which only made them realize that they must have read me wrong and left with this statement, “Well hey, if you can think of anybody cheap who will represent me for free, let me know”…which is exactly what they had thought I might do for them. Well, H. E. double toothpicks! The deep-fried cauliflower started to rise up my throat from rage (or the gluten-flam I had taken just wasn’t doing the job) and I wanted to tackle them to the ground right then and there and beat some football sense into their ass. Just because I may have an aura of compassion and kindness, (or sucker…not sure which) doesn’t mean that I will champion just any victim. There is a big difference between someone who is truly victimized and those who treat it like an occupation. Shit happens to everyone, and we all need to help each other out once in a while, I get that. But to those who choose to stay powerless by voiding every solution by the words, “I can’t”, and suck the generosity of the world like emotional vampires, I just have no time. And while my faith teaches me to be merciful, it also teaches me that I will never be given anything more than I can handle…the operative word being “I”.
It’s a good thing, asking for help…but only when personal responsibility is present first. If the person I mentioned would have started with a phrase like, “Hey, I really screwed up and would like some advice about what to do about it” our conversation would have been completely different. I guess that’s also how I feel about the predicament of our country. We all share some personal responsibility for this country’s problem’s, so we can move forward together with the faith that we are not powerless, we are not alone, and solutions do exit that will require sacrifice from everyone, or we can be like the person in the bar, blame someone else and wait for someone else to fix it for them. I personally, choose the former, any “friday night lights” mom wouldn’t accept anything less.