Friday, April 14, 2017

39. ADVOCATE

Last week, on Palm Sunday, I told the kids in our Primary Sharing Time that my husband wore a dress to work. They giggled, and looked over at him. He teaches the nine-year-olds in our church services and they know him as a pleasant and fairly serious kind of fellow. I handed David his judicial robes and he slipped his arms, one after the other in the flowing black sleeves of his work attire. I told the kids about the bailiff in Dave’s courtroom, who came in before the judge and announced “All Rise!” At that moment, all the kids stood up. I mentioned that when Dave was first appointed to the bench I was worried I would have to rise every time he walked in the door from work, but it turned out not to be true, thank goodness! I then invited three of our teachers and one of our boys to come to the front. I named them Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and handed them Bibles, asking them to find the accounts they had written that were published in the Bible. I told the kids that I was now going to pretend, which they know is not an unusual thing for me.
I came in yelling that a crazy thing had happened and some guy was claiming to be the Messiah and he claimed to raise our neighbor Lazarus from the dead and now he was riding in to the city of Jerusalem on the back of a small white donkey and professing to be God. Insane! Absurd! That’s when Matthew, Mark, Luke and John spoke up and stood as witnesses, testifying that they had been there, and had seen how Lazarus had begun to stink, how his sisters Mary and Martha had wept with sorrow and frustration, and how, on the command of Jesus, their brother rose from his stony bed and breathed the dank air inside the tomb.
I hear almost daily interesting stories of witnesses, and of defendants and advocates. Super interesting stories from the daily experience of my husband in his role as a Utah State Court judge. He has a particularly secure job, with a steady flow of clients. Crime takes no holidays. He oversees cases on all levels, from the happy end of the spectrum, where he performs marriages and adoptions, to the other, where he is obliged to hear horrific stories of murder and other unspeakable crimes. I could not do what he does, but he is well suited for it because he loves the law and believes that our system of justice is based on eternal truths and he wants to represent those truths as best he can.
Before Dave was given his custom robe and his own courtroom, he visited the courtrooms of other judges as an advocate. A purest in terms of the law, he believes everyone is entitled to intelligent representation. He served well as an attorney for almost three decades. Many times I received personal letters and comments from his clients who had the deepest respect for him and his skill as a lawyer. He loved being able to represent, but he did not love billing his clients. When he became a judge that aspect of his work was most pleasing to him… not having to keep track of his hours and bill the people he represented.
Yesterday I visited the Musea d’Orsay in Paris France with his honor and our daughter, Kate and my sister, Libby. We spent the afternoon in the company of the masters: Monet, and Renoir, Manet, Pissaro, Degas and Cezanne, among others. When you are in a place that has a seemingly eternal collection of master-works, it takes disciplined self-talk to stop and recognize the magnitude of each piece. I force myself into my pretend mode, imagining that I am in the flat of a new friend and I am seeing this painting on their wall for the first time; a treasure for generations with value beyond that of any other possession. The feast of aesthetics in a museum can be overwhelmingly stimulating and one could risk overdosing if not careful. So, it takes some good self-talk, and an ability to permit oneself to leave and digest what has already entered the sensory pool rather than repeatedly overindulging to excessive discomfort.

One striking painting by Cezanne was entitled L'Avocate. All the plaques were in French, and I am thinking that Avocate in French means advocate or attorney in English, though I’m not sure (and since I am at this moment on a train in the French countryside without Wi-Fi or cell coverage, I cannot Google it.)
It took me a moment to figure out why the painting looked faintly familiar to me. Not until I reviewed a photo I had taken of it did I finally recognize why. The stance of the Advocate reflects the stance of the Savior Jesus Christ in the portrait that hangs in our home. He has one hand over his heart, and the other raised before him, with his finger pointing upwards, as if he is trying to make a point.

I am reminded on this day, Good Friday, that I am blessed to be in love with good advocates. One is my husband. The other is my Savior and king. They both represent me when I cannot defend myself. And neither keep an account of the hours spent, or the energy and intelligence spent, on my behalf. There is no billable hour to them. That makes them forever in my heart, and me forever in their debt.
at the little church in
Normandy France we visited today.

2 comments:

  1. How grateful I am for both of these advocates in your life...and mine!

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  2. This job requires great responsibility as the lives of others depend on your one decision. Loved reading the incidents happened with your husband in the court room.

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