Saturday, October 29, 2005

something so elusive

Dear Jacob,

i hope that it's ok that i respond this way, instead of in the comments below. there is so much to say in response to your question that a comment won't cut it - and actually, i could probably dialogue about this with you for the next several years. the way that i see life is in pictures - maybe sort of like a kaleidoscope, where when you turn the circle, an entirely new dimension is added, and there is ever more to speak of. because of this, anything i try to encapsulate in one entry, or in ten, will necessarily be only pieces of reality as i see them.

i would like to add one other preface: i want you to know that i don't believe that i have a corner on truth. i don't believe that i'm the only one who knows God or can speak about a relationship with him, and i don't believe that my approach to a relationship with God is the only way. my beliefs are necessarily affected by my life experience, my culture, my world-view and my upbringing. there is no way to separate that from what i believe about God. i write with the understanding that i don't know all of truth. i can only honestly say that i seek to find truth wherever it is, and when i find it, i seek to live it out in a way that is sincere and authentic.

the short answer to your question is that i do believe that people can have a relationship with God. and it's not because i heard someone (or a lot of someones) say that in church. i am not, as you say, parroting back phrases that i have heard others speak. i speak out of the experience of my own life. i will try to explain a little of what i mean in the following, but know that i know that this explanation will be grossly inadequate. there is no way to encapsulate a whole lifetime of experience and belief on one page.

i start with the belief that God is wholly other. what i mean by that is that he is a Being, separate from the world, the universe, people, yet with personality, life, energy. i believe that he is Creator (whether he did so thru evolution or a literal creation to me is not so big an issue), and that he is, as he names himself I AM. i believe that he is greater than i can imagine, the force behind the universe - infinite.

as such, God is not someone or something that i can manipulate, that i can control. he does not live inside my head, he does not live inside my beliefs. what i believe about him does not make him so. how i have interacted with him, what i know about him is necessarily incomplete, because he is infinite and i am finite.

so then, how do i get to know him? how do i have a relationship with this being? how do i even know that he is a being, and not just a story in a book?

this is where i have to draw on some analogies. how do i know my best friend? how do i know that she is there? how do i know who she is? first, even without seeing her nearby, i see evidence of her. i see that she left her book laying in my bedroom, i see that she made me dinner, took out the trash, or watered my plants while i was out of town. next, i observe her in action. i see her talking with other people, i hear the words that she says, i see her interact. much of what i know about her comes from what she says and how she interacts with others. next, i listen to her self-disclosure. i listen to the stories she tells about her childhood, i listen to the things that she loves and hates, what her hopes and dreams, her passions are. i get to know her character. and my relationship with her is based on all these things. i have a relationship with her because i see evidence of her, i watch her in action, i listen to her speak, and finally, because i interact with her - i share who i am with her, i share my passions, my dreams, myself.

and i see my relationship with God as somewhat similar. i see evidence of him everywhere. i see him in creation. when i stare in wonder at the night sky peppered with stars, i know that there is a being who created them. when i look at the beauty that is in the photographs on your blog, i know that there is a God who made them. and what do i learn about God from those things? i see that he is creative - beauty is something that he treasures. why do we have colors in the fall when trees are changing? the color change is not necessary. why do we not see in black and white? it's the same with the sunrise and the sunset. the beauty calls out to me to reach out to know the Being who created these things.

then, i observe him. this gets more difficult, because he is not physically present in my life. and sometimes, oh, how i wish that he was. but i do see him at work. i hear others talk about things that he has provided in their lives. i see him provide for me. he works through people, mostly. i don't understand why he chose that way to relate to the world. because people are inconsistent, unfaithful, and lots of us just don't pay attention a lot of the time. but sometimes, i have a need that no one knows about, but God does, and then it is met. and sometimes, to be honest, those needs are not met. and i don't know why. i understand that to believe that it is actually God working takes some faith to begin with. i'm sure that a logical person could rationalize most of it away. but there are some times when things happen that are unexplainable apart from belief in a living God.

next, i listen to God's self-disclosure. most of this occurs in the Bible. i understand that this is problematic for a lot of people, for many different reasons. i am willing to talk about all of these things in the future. for now, let's just leave it that i believe that the Bible is God disclosing to us much of what he wants us to know about who he is. this is not the only way that he speaks, but it is one way. so i try to listen to his story. i try to understand it as a whole - from beginning to end. what is the main point? what is the flow of what is communicated? who is this God who began with creation? why did he choose Abraham or David? what's going on? what is the meaning of the cross? and i try to understand who he is. and what i learn about his character i try to emulate in my life. i don't want more knowledge about God than what i can put into practice.

the other part of God's self-disclosure comes from the Spirit, i believe. the Spirit both illuminates Scripture and communes with the spirit of believers. i wish i could explain in rational terms what exactly that means. but here, i think, is where words fail. because how do you really explain this type of interaction? how do you really explain how you love your family, how you relate to them? how do you really define these relationships? there are times when i simply know that God is there. i know that he hears my cries. so many times i wish that i could feel his arms around me, hear an audible voice speaking to me, touch his hands, his side... but the fact that he is not physically present does not mean that he is not there, or that he is not real. i believe that he is real because i sense that his Spirit communes with my spirit.

and then i share with him who i am, my hopes and fears, my dreams and ambitions. and i try to become like him - to reflect his character as i have encountered it. i often do a very poor job at this. but as i become more like him, it is easier for me to identify where he is at work, or when he is speaking to me. so this is much of what i mean when i speak of a relationship with God.

i want you to know that i know that this way of relating to God, these reasons for believing in God are somewhat circular. my faith in God informs my belief in God, and my belief in God informs my faith in him. in some ways, i have started with a base of faith, and gone from there. but i also know that there is no belief-system in the universe that is not in some way circular like this. science tells us to depend on observable fact, and we depend on observable fact to determine what science is. there has to be some ultimate something that can only be measured by itself, because logic requires that. at some point there has to be a beginning, at some point there has to be a foundation. this foundation makes more sense to me than any other that i have encountered.

i also want you to know that i understand your pain in relating to God, or lacking that "relationship." i read your journal as posted online, and related to much of what you said. you are not alone - not at all. many of the saints have experienced such hardships. one that comes to mind is St. Teresa of Avila, who wrote "the dark night of the soul." i wish i could say that i understand how God relates to people, or that i was able to predict how he would relate. but i can't, because he is wholly other. in the Old Testament, Abraham went 40-50-60 years after he was told that he would have a son before God came to him again. Enoch walked with God to the point that he didn't even die but was taken off the earth. why did God choose to interact with each of them in these ways? i can't answer that question - i don't know. there have been many times in life when i have cried out to God, and i have not heard him, i have not sensed his presence, i have felt alone. there are many times when my needs have not been met. why is this? i don't know. i can't explain it. God is a being who does not live inside my reality. i wish that he did so that i could wrap my arms around him, so that i could wrap my mind around him. but he is too big... too infinite to be captured in this way.

but i do believe that God wants to be known. he has left his evidence in our world, everywhere we turn. he gave us the story of the Bible, to show us who he is and what his passions are. his character as expressed in creation and in Scripture communicate to me that he desires to be known by humanity.

i can also tell you that i have seen a lot of hypocrisy in the church. i know as well as you do that there are so many people in the church who are just saying their lines, speaking the words, living like they're "supposed to" without having a genuine relationship with God, and without really putting into practice the things that his character would demonstrate. but i also have a handful of friends around me who have just as sincerely experienced a true and living God, and who sincerely seek to follow him. what i see in those friends that i don't see in others is that belief that starts with God as a Being who cannot be manipulated or controlled. it's a belief that starts with God, and seeks to find him as he has disclosed himself, rather than to find him in a way that is comfortable to them or that fits into some kind of theological box that someone else created for them.

i hope that this gives you a small glimpse of what i mean when i talk about relationship with God. i would love to continue the dialogue as you desire, whether in public in the comments or in private on email. it is a difficult question to answer in a satisfactory way, because there is something so elusive about faith. again, please understand that i know the limitations of my own descriptions. this has been my experience. but know that it is real - i am not pretending or playing games. this belief in God and my relationship with him is the foundation of all that i do.

missing the point

when most of my life was surrounded by Christians, and i hadn't had much time in the regular world, i had the impression that normal people wouldn't understand or be able to relate to my faith. i had this impression because all i really knew of the broader culture was what the media told me. if you watch the news, you get the impression that the rest of the world thinks that Christians are dumb for having faith in God. you think that Christians and conservatives are in the minority - that their opinions are backwards, uneducated, unrealistic. if you watch movies or tv shows, you know that all Christians are really completely unintelligent, socially inept, and judgmental.

so it has come as a great surprise to me that really, people are very open to the fact that i have faith. in some ways, it does separate me from others. my language is different, the music i listen to is different, even my attitude, in some ways, is different. but the amazing thing is that people generally don't judge me for that. in fact, they respect it, especially when i treat them with kindness and respect. it's a topic of conversation occasionally, and when people need something, they generally know that they can count on me.

so it's been interesting for me these last few years, to watch the mainstream media try to grasp the fact that they were lying to themselves. as Bush was put into office, the tragedy of September 11, and other things have occurred, they seem to have suddenly realized there is a whole world out there that they know nothing about, and in fact, completely alienate on a regular basis. Fox News now has the highest news show ratings for their top 5 shows. and they're not just winning by a little bit. they're ahead by millions.

the time that this all seemed clearest to me was right after Bush was re-elected. it was like light-bulbs went off and the mainstream media suddenly realized there was a whole world out there that was not under their influence. there were lots of follow-up specials on evangelicals, Christians, what they believe, who they are, what they do. and it was so interesting to watch the media interviewing these people. because there was still this thinly veiled disgust with the fact that there are still people with faith. there was sort of a horrified interest eminating from the interveiwers. and very few of them were even close to being able to grasp what the people being interviewed were saying.

and i can understand that difficulty, really. if you don't believe there is a being, any being out there who might be called God, then to you, religion is a creed, a philosophy, a way of thinking. and it would make sense that if you could just disprove whatever the basis for those beliefs were, then those beliefs would have to go away. but what every single interviewer failed to grasp was that the center of the Christian's faith is a relationship with a living Being. there is a God who is real, who has personal characteristics, who is knowable. and many of those who claim to follow this God have a relationship with God that is not so different from a relationship with people. in order to understand faith, that's the place that you have to start... you have to meet this Jesus, this God. you have to hear his voice in the stories of the Bible, you have to see his character, and you have to encounter his Spirit in your life and heart. and he has promised that you will find him, if you seek him with all your heart.

and that's what i'd like to say to the media. you're missing the point. it seems like you're trying to tap into a vast amount of people and figure out what makes them tick so that you can use that to market your information. and to some extent, i'm sure that you think you've done that. but at the center of everything, you will never understand where this group of people is coming from until you have met this God that they follow. their motivations and their ambitions will never make sense to you until you know their God.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

what God will make of me...

i would really like to believe that the US is a place where people can be successful working outside the norm. and actually, we do have a lot of examples of this, like Bill Gates. because business is entrepreneurial, and money is what talks, those who think outside the box and make money are able to succeed.

and yet, still in our institutions there is a very strong preference for doing things "the way we always have." this is true in many churches. this is true in many law firms. this is true in many companies. is there something about human nature that is only comfortable doing things the way we always have?

i am sure that there must be. i know that at least part of me prefers to have things be the same way all the time. there's some comfort in knowing what to expect. somehow, knowing what to expect gives us confidence. somehow we don't feel that we're risking as much when we choose based on what we know.

apparently i'm too big a risk for Big Law firms. because i don't fit the stereotype. because i didn't go to one of the top tier law schools. because i dare to believe that a different philosophy of teaching law could be just as valid as the old-school traditional methods. because i'm not willing to transfer from a school where i have a full scholarship to a "better" school where i would leave $100,000+ in debt.

apparently i'm also too big a risk for the church - at least my old church. there, it was my ideas about missions, and my willingness to be ready to pick up & go wherever God might lead me. apparently that didn't quite fit with the "way they always did things."

really, i'm ok with not being part of these organizations. i came to terms long ago with my perspective on life. i've actually intentionally chosen my value system. i chose to disassociate with the church i mentioned above because i couldn't handle being around people who weren't open to God's leading when it doesn't seem "rational." i chose to go to a low-tier law school in part because i don't want to waste my life working with people who only see external qualities as the measure of a person's worth. these are my choices, and i'm not sorry that i made them.

but i do wonder, at times, whether the people of God who only make decisions that are rational realize what they are missing, not stepping out by faith & doing something that doesn't "make sense." i wonder if they realize how much you are forced to grow when all you have to hold on to is God.

i wonder whether people who are caught up in money, "success," tradition, or risk-management know that they are missing the joy of living life free to be yourself. i wonder if they realize that the people who think outside the box are the people that made our nation so "successful" in the first place. i wonder if they understand that the entrepreneurial spirit is what sets us apart from other nations.

so i am unapologetic for the choices i have made. i will never regret living life as the person God created me to be. i will never regret being willing to risk.

i am simply fascinated to see what i will make of life, and what life will make of me, and what God will make of both.

Friday, October 21, 2005

what i live for

how is it that we so easily forget?

when i worked at summer camp, we used to do star walks with our kids. out in the country, the night would be dark, cool. you could hear the crickets chirping, the mosquitoes buzzing. and when you looked up into the sky, you saw hundreds of stars.

Picture courtesy of NASA and H. Richer (University of British Columbia)

we started with facts about the earth: how many miles around it is, how many people live here. then we would talk about the sun: how far away from the sun we were, how fast light travels, how many miles away all the other stars were, how many earths could fit into the sun. and then we would talk about the other stars: how our sun is only an ordinary, medium-sized star, how all the stars we see are just portions of galaxies, how we live in one galaxy, with billions of stars, and there are many, many more.

Picture courtesy of: The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA)

and then we would talk about God: how God is bigger than the universe, how he holds it in his hand. how infinite, how vast, how awesome, how indescribable.

and then we would read Psalm 8 - what is man that you were mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? why does an infinite God care for such tiny creatures?

and the star walk would inspire awe and worship, because God is vast. God is wholly other. God is beyond imagination. and yet, he didn't consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death - even death on a cross.

and yet, somehow with the passage of time, it's easy to forget that God is more vast than the universe. at some point, i begin to think of God in terms of humanity - in terms of my perspective, my pain, my focal point. i forget his vastness, and i start to contain him in my head, and in my heart. when i converse with him, sometimes i talk to him like he's just a friend, who i can walk right up to. and i know that he has given me permission to do so. but sometimes in that familiarity, i forget that God is holy - that he is wholly other.

and then i begin to live like he is human, understandable, containable. the pain that i'm in, or the situations that i am asked to bear become large and burdensome. my problems and my perspective start to control how i view life. and i forget how to worship God. i forget to worship, because the God that i now perceive is not God as he is. somehow, in my own mind, i've transformed God into a being that i can control. somehow, i've begun to define God in terms of who i am, instead of defining myself in terms of who God is.

i'm not so different from the Israelites, who heard God's voice on the mountain. God has spoken to me - i have glimpsed his glory and his holiness, and i have been in awe. yet, like the Israelites, that glimpse is too much for me. and so i create my own golden calf. my mold is not of gold, but it is there. and just as real as the golden calf, my image of God creates a barrier - i cannot worship the true God when i have created my own image of him.

and so i cry out to God to crush my self-made images of him, and to meet me as he is. i ask like Moses that God would allow me to see his glory, so that i may worship him. and i remember.

i remember what i live for.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

the Asia in me

one interesting thing i've noticed in my interviews is how different my worldview is from the average interviewee. i know this because some of the questions that i ask or the things that i say are met with confused expressions or additional questions from the interviewer.

one of the main differences i think is there is that i don't approach things from an "i'm in this all for myself" perspective. the American culture is very individualistic, and especially in law you have people with big egos who are in it for the big money and are willing to fight to get what they want. i come in with a very different perspective, one that's attributable both to my cultural development and my faith.

i have mentioned many times that when i was a teenager i lived in Asia. living there during such a formational time did many things for me. one of those things was that in the development of my values and worldview, i took on good and bad things from both the American and Asian perspectives. i was in a really unique position to be able to question and evaluate values and ideas from a more objective perspective, because i could actually see what culture is. so many people who have never left their own culture have never seen just how much your culture is tied to your belief system. but i was in a position to see that, and therefore to evaluate culture and my cultural values from a really different perspective, which led me to adopt and reject values from both cultures.

so i adopted some Asian values. one of these values is the appreciation for the whole - the whole society, the whole family, the whole organism to which i belong. rather than being completely individualistic - being concerned about my life, or my family, or even my country. in some ways, i have adopted the Asian way of sacrificing self for the benefit of the whole. so i come into a firm willing to adjust my study schedule so that i will take courses that i will need in order to do the best for them. i come into the firm, willing to do something that's not my first choice in subject matter or skill level because it's what the firm needs. i am more than willing to sacrifice my own desires and even my needs for the good of the whole.

then, you add to that my faith, which has also taught me to see myself as a small part of a much bigger picture. i see my life as one small part of God's kingdom, and the things that i do as a small part of what God is trying to accomplish in the world. what i do, i do for him, and for his kingdom. what i do, i do with excellence, because i believe that God would want me to give my all to that which i set my hand to. as a result, i don't care about success in the typical way. i don't care if no one in the world never even knows my name. success to me is based on giving what i can for the sake of Christ and his work, whatever that looks like.

i am very happy with this perspective on life. it means that i don't have to grasp for the future, i don't have to grasp for position or power. i would not want to live a different way. but i see that this is different from others, and is probably perceived as weakness or passivity in a system that's set up so that everyone is your adversary. i'm not an adversarial person - not at all. and i will rarely fight a battle on my own behalf. but i am strong, internally, and i will fight to the death for someone i love, or for justice.

so i am curious to see what will happen with these firms. will anyone have seen past the culture and the values and have seen what i am made of?

i don't know. but it will certainly be interesting to see.

(ok, so when i said yesterday i hate talking about myself, that's not exactly true... i don't like talking about my accomplishments. i don't like drawing attention to me. but i do enjoy analyzing and learning about who i really am, and how my time in Asia affected who i became. sometimes i'm surprised at how Asian i really am on the inside. and i enjoy having those kinds of conversations with others, because i really do like to be known.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

the interview update

well, i think that was my last interview, for a while at least. i can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to my studies (except for the fact that moot court is coming up, and who knows what else... then exams, and i'm about 3 weeks behind on my outlines...)

anyway, the interview was good. i met with several different people, and learned a lot. some of them spent more time talking about the firm than asking questions, but there was at least one woman who i really connected with. i have no idea whether i'll receive an offer - it's so hard to tell. first, because even those who are genuinely interested in you don't have enough space for everyone they're interested in, and second, just because you don't know who you're competing against, or what the firm is really looking for. so now i wait.

this process is really difficult for me - it's difficult for me to decide exactly what i want to do. i really do see the good and the bad in all my options, and i'm so adaptable that i can do anything. as far as what i want... well, this big firm sort of appeals to me because i'd be doing a lot of research and writing right off the bat - and the thought of studying all day, learning - it would be great. but then i also applied to do a prosecutor's office internship here in my home state - and that's also appealing because i'd be trying actual cases in the courtroom - and criminal law is very interesting to me. so the problem is that i don't have a strong preference on where i end up - which means that it's difficult to sell others on who you are & what you can add to their firm/organization.

so there's the update. i'll try to get back to more interesting topics next time. (at least, more itneresting to me - i hate talking about myself). but thanks to all who read for being interested in my life. it means a lot to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

flashback to the early 90's

ok - so do you remember that scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts flings a piece of escargot across the restaurant?

that's me. exactly what i was talking about yesterday. funny that it was on tv today...

big law here i come?

as i looked out the window at the clouds passing beneath me, i couldn't help but ask myself, "what am i doing?"

on my way to Big City to interview with Big Law Firm, i can't help but wonder if i'm really cut out for this. it's not the law or the practice of law that i question. i know that i'm studying the right thing. i've never been happier, truly.

it's the culture. i don't know if i can learn it. i feel totally inadequate. from carrying the right baggage, checking into hotels, tipping the valet parking guys, and using the right silverware... the world of the wealthy is a world that i have rarely entered.

though my parents are both educated - very educated, we still have the blue-collar values of hard work, do-it-yourself, and do it cheap. add to that my cross-cultural experience and now you have a very odd mixture indeed. it's already cross-cultural for me to live in the American culture... but this is taking it to an entirely new level.

i go into these interviews and communicate an unassuming and unapologetic confidence, hard work and passion. i'm pretty comfortable being independent, a maverick of sorts, perhaps. but sometimes i think that i choose that persona becuase it's easier to be myself with all my quirks than to try to figure out exactly how to fit in wherever i happen to be at that time.

but the problem with learning this culture is probably even deeper than that - it has to do with values. my values distinguish me... they're totally different. first - i don't care about making money. i don't care if i'm financially secure. i will always be looking for a deal, and looking to spend as little as possible, and give a lot away. i'm not motivated by "success." my motivation comes from inside - from wanting to do well because i believe it says something about me, and just because i'm a bit of a perfectionist. furthermore, my goals in life really are spiritual. all i want is to make an impact in the kingdom by being who God made me to be. i want to be part of God's work in the world - whatever that may look like. i have some pretty general ideas about where i might end up, and what it might look like. but i've been walking with God for too long to think that i can know everything right now, or to be willing to make hard and fast plans without being willing to listen to new things that God might be leading me to do.

it's not that i think these things are incompatible with law - or even with Big Firm life. not at all. it's just that i think i'll always be something of an anomoly. and i find it difficult to articulate my motivations and passions in a way that will make sense to someone who doesn't walk with God.

so - there you go. it will be very interesting to see where i end up. and i am learning. it's just a process.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

blue like jazz

so i finally read the book - blue like jazz... i tried to read it once before, but i couldn't get thru the first few pages. honestly it's just not my reading style.

but this time i was able to get past the writing style and hear the story. and in many ways it's like my story. it's the story of a person who has struggled with the institutionalized church, who has fought for a relationship with God that is real and personal, and who is trying to live an authentic life.

i saw much of myself in the author. many of the questions or issues that i've had with christianity he has also encountered. and at the same time, i saw what i want to be. i want to know how to put the story of my faith in words that a regular person will understand. i want my life with Christ to put me on a path where people who don't know Christ, or care about God, can actually have a relationship with me.

i, like the author, grew up in a christian home, and had a christian life. i had some unusual experiences living overseas and all, but in all, i really was pretty sheltered. i didn't know many people who were not christians. my life as a christian was so different that when i finally started meeting people who don't believe in God, i really had no idea of how to relate.

and truthfully, i was stifled within that bubble. when i finally got out, i found that in general i prefer to be around people who don't believe in God. The author talks about living like a hippie in the woods for a month, and how he found love and acceptance and authenticity with that community. that's how i feel about my encounters with most people who don't believe in God.

and this is very strange, because the community of believers is supposed be a place of love and refuge - we as Christ-followers are supposed to be known by the way that we love each other. all too often this is not what we are known for.

another thing i found very interesting was the way the author framed his story about coming to believe in God. i often wonder how best to communicate what a relationship with God means to me, to others who are from my generation. the author, i felt, at least has a place that a person could legitimately start to communicate what that means - he starts with his own depravity. and i think that that's the place that you almost have to start.

and that's where i have a little argument in my head with my dad... because he would say that's really human-centered, and that really, reality is God-centered. but that's where i would say that we no longer live in a world that is even close to being monotheistic or God-centered, so to start with who God is is to start at a place that my generation can't reach. you almost have to start with apologetics, and build a broader foundation than can be found in simply explaining who God has said that he is.

i don't know... i'm still thinking about that - trying to work that all out. but i was encouraged to read a story that gave me an arguable place to start the conversation.

so i would recommend the book - if only to get a handle on culture, on how one person (who may be representative of many of his generation) is walking out his faith.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

gotta love those interviews

i can’t help it – i’m honest. i’m direct. you ask me a question, i’ll answer it. i try to be diplomatic, i really do. i try to know the best thing to say, the words to use, the phrases that will sound the most polished. but I can’t really sustain that. i don’t hide who i really am very well. i used to be great at it. but i can’t do it any more.

so… i’m sitting in interview #2, and there’s a human resources woman, and really smart guy asking lots of challenging questions. i happen to be enjoying the interview, cuz i can tell the guy is really trying to figure out if i’m a fit for the firm. if you’re going to expend that much effort on me, i’m going to be very responsive… so yeah… i accidentally mention the 4 years i was out of school before coming to law school. it’s not like i’m ashamed of that time – it’s actually what brought me to school… but there’s just a lot in there that’s hard to explain to a person who doesn’t live by faith.

so i’m like yeah, i’m working in the inner city, my funding source fell thru and i left.
(they’re thinking, was she fired? was she the only one let go? is that the real story?)

and then… i went out to Colorado just for fun to work at a camp because working with inner-city kids was so stressful and i needed a break.
(stress… she thinks the inner-city is stressful! wait till she works in litigation! will she be able to handle the stress of being an attorney?)

so i ended up in law because i wanted to help fix the systems that are broken, and use my mind to do it… i wasn’t using my intelligence, i wanted to use my mind
(she’s thinking – did you just say i’m dumb? you were doing social work, i’m a social worker, so now i’m dumb)

so i leave that interview feeling both good and bad. good because i actually enjoyed talking with these people, and being challenged to explain who i am. bad because i said some really dumb things and think there's no way i'm getting a call-back - chalk that one up to experience.

but today i had my second interview with the firm, so i must not have made as bad an impression as i thought i did!

and as a side note - i'm so happy to finally be doing something with my life where my personality, passions, strengths, and propensities are viewed as desirable. i know that i'm blessed, because not everyone finds their place like that.

Monday, October 03, 2005

speaking of time...

this is fall interview season, where 2nd year law students apply for jobs for next summer. sort of at the last minute i decided to apply to some firms. when i came to law school, i wasn't really interested in private practice. i came to school wanting to change the world. i still do.

but as i consider the impact that i want to have, the things i want to do require a position of influence - and perhaps prominence - because i want the system to change. so i find myself suddenly open to the idea of working for a firm and being active in the community.

so it's off to the interviews i go. and the interviews are interesting. though firms on their websites all seem somewhat similar, in reality, each has approached the interview process differently. i went to one interview where the interviewer barely looked up from his notes and seemed very uninterested in the whole experience. he seemed like he'd already made up his mind before i came in the door and nothing i could say would change his mind one way or the other. i know i made a fairly poor showing at that one because it was hard for me to care when he didn't.

my second interview was with a couple of people. the head of human resources and one of the people on the hiring committee. that was a really interesting interview, with some very thought-provoking questions. i answered some of them badly, opened the door to questions framed from a more negative perspective, and i may have offended the human resources lady. so needless to say, i was shocked to get a call this week inviting me to a call-back interview with that firm. i actually enjoyed that interview immensely, and am looking forward to a chance to redeem myself in some ways. that interview will be this week.

and then i had an interview today, at a firm that i really like and think i would like to work for. it was really different to go in with an attitude of excitement about the firm. no other firm has really distinguished itself in my mind like this one has. so i am hoping that they will call me with an offer.

in some ways this process is difficult. it's definitely more time consuming than i had expected. but in other ways it's kind of fun - because i feel like it's really a process of determining personality and fit. more than acceptance or rejection, it's the process of trying to figure out if we're a good fit for each other. sure - it feels great to be wanted, to be interviewed, and to have these opportunities. it's great. and when you know that you aren't chosen & you get those stupid rejection letters... well, that's not too great. but in general it's been fun.

i haven't made any decisions. it'll be very interesting to see where i end up next summer.