Sunday, November 28, 2010


Sunday Reflection: Vocation and snow

It was quite a week, and in many ways a perfect Thanksgiving.

Something happened on Monday that really made me happy. On Sunday, I wrote about Marrieta Jaeger-Lane and her incredible example of faith in forgiving the killer of her daughter, Suzie. Then, to my surprise, the next day Marrieta herself came onto the Razor and made the following comment (she begins by quoting my post):

"If I were one of them, would I be brave, Christ-like, forgiving?" As we say out here in Montana, you betcha!

True, initially, you would probably rave and rant -- a perfectly normal valid human response. However, you, Mark, already have a foundation of facts and even moreso, faith, which would eventually rise up within your broken, bleeding heart with a calling power graced by a loving God, who grieves more than any of us, and who desires that all God's people not be kidnapped from God's Tent by an unforgiving spirit. (See John 1: The Word became flesh and pitched its tent among us.)

'Tis my fervent prayer that the above never be your experience, but thank you for your affirming words and enjoyable company!!

Yesterday (Sunday), as we do every month, we went to Montana State Prison, spending half time with guys from low-side and half with high-side folks. I was the designated speaker this time and told pretty much the same story you heard, with emphasis on the healing power and freedom of forgiveness rather than the dp [death penalty]. 'Twas very moving to look out on the men's faces with tears runing down their cheeks, or all squinched up to prevent same from happening. Go, Susie!!

It was one of those times that I felt humbled, in a real and sincere way-- from being in the company of someone better than me.

Then, on Friday of this week, I was visited here in Edina by one of my favorite former students, Campbell Warner. Campbell and his new wife, Stephanie, had a weekend in Minneapolis and took the time to come over for lunch. For those of you who don't know, Campbell is now in Army J.A.G.; in April he deploys for a year in Afghanistan. He took all of my classes that he could, and it was always a joy to have him there. He was one of those people I knew from the start would be exactly the kind of lawyer I hope to train (and hope to be, myself), and it turns out he is exactly that. He takes his job seriously, he confronts the truth, and he sees both sides. He does the right thing even when it keeps him up late. I'm very proud of him.

We were walking back from lunch, crossing the little wooden bridge over Minnehaha Creek, and it was quiet, just our footsteps in the snow. He had his hands jammed into the pockets of his inadequate jacket. He must have been cold, I knew he was, but he did not show me that. It was one of those small things that you remember.

And there was this thought, still and true as the air: This is my vocation, my life's work. It is Marrieta and Campbell; advocacy, scholarship and teaching; every bit of it wrapped up around real people, these people.

I'm incredibly lucky.
I'm truly happy.
I'm not worthy of this bounty.
And yes, yes, I am thankful.

I've known you for nearly 30 years, and this post had my eyes squinched up like the prisoners Marietta was talking about.
Are you in that video? One guy looks just like you in 1991.
You are lucky. Enjoy.
Anon. 7:07, is there some attitude there? Something grouchy this way comes.
To ?:
No, no attitude. Just admiration.
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