This morning in the rotunda of a turn-of-the-century, rural courthouse, I held my client in my arms. She is the mother of a teenage boy/man who is currently missing, a runaway from a youth facility, where he was placed for explosive anger and violence. While she wept and shook with sorrow, I held her tightly, and closed my eyes, water pooling in them. She wept for the loss of her son, in fear because he is out there, with winter approaching. He is reported to be accompanied by others who are unlikely to create a favorable outcome.
She wept that she could not save him. She certainly didn't save him when he was a small child, from brutal beating at the hands of his father, a beating so severe that it made the papers. Did I mention this boy still carries the newspaper article with him? It's folded up very, very small, tucked into his wallet, like a miniature trophy awarded for survival. He shows it to people from time to time. He showed it to his Department of Human Services worker once.
I am not a lawyer. I am a Boddhisatva. I don't go around saying this, because I work in the semi-rural Midwest, and would be known as the Cray-zee Lawyer if I did. But that's what I am (a Boddhisatva, not a Cray-zee Lawyer), and I've known it for a long time.
The work of a Boddhisatva is difficult. The main qualifications for such work seem to be an open heart and the ability to heal people. Lately, this is a challenge for me. The terrain of my spiritual path has been treacherous in recent times, and I've watched with sorrow as my heart closed.
My client gave me a gift this morning, although she will never know it. Her pain called my heart to open, and it did.
I will do my best to give her the gift of her son. So now I have to find him. I won't stop until I do.