Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the weight of suffering

i carry the weight of others' suffering deep within me. at times i think i carry it deeper than they themselves may feel or recognize.

i don't really know how it happens, i only know that it has always been so. my parents tell stories of me entering a room where other babies were, and if others were crying, i would cry too. i have been reading about a portion of the population that has a highly sensitive nervous system and is simply in tune with more of the non-verbal, subconscious cues that everyone recognizes at some level. these people tend, as i do, to reflect very deeply on those things they pick up.

this carrying of burdens does not happen with everyone i meet. i do not carry all burdens for all people. but there have been countless times when i have been in a person's life, at the right time and place, and have walked with them in their suffering for a while, taking on some portion of it. i think that maybe this is one of those things that i have been put on earth for.

but for whatever reason, i find myself here again tonight. carrying a burden that is not mine, simply because God's love compels me to love another. and it is a heaviness of spirit that i cannot walk away from. it is an unrest that drives me to pray and cry out to God for healing and hope and forgiveness. it is a waiting and preparation for the time when i can speak words of truth and healing and hope and forgiveness into that life.

sometimes i wonder if there is a purpose for this burden-carrying. i have learned not to think myself a savior. i have learned to think and weigh the need before asking to be allowed to carry part of someone else's suffering. it takes so much out of me.

i guess i do think there is a purpose: if nothing else a purpose of reflecting the God who carries the burden of our suffering, who holds it deeply to his heart, who reaches out to touch us in our pain.

and so i wait, again, until the time is right to listen and to speak.

Friday, June 22, 2007

property law--my favorite

some days things just come together & a light bulb goes off. it sort of happened for me today with one small area of the law. there are different kind of requirements for when you buy real estate about recording your interests to protect yourself from a seller who sells his land to more than one person. these statutes are written in the most distressing format, so that unless you've read them a bunch of times, it's nearly impossible to make heads or tails of what they are saying--and even if you do, to figure out how to apply them. i don't think i fully got it when we covered it in class. today we took a practice test in a class i'm doing with my school, and i finally understood how to tell the difference between the statutes and how to apply each of them.

so for your enjoyment, here are the two most common statutes:

"No conveyance, transfer or mortgage of real property shall be good and effectual in law or equity against creditors or subsequent purchasers for a valuable consideration and without notice, unless the same be recorded." (notice statute)

"Every conveyance of real estate which shall not be recorded shall be void as against any subsequent purchaser in good faith, and for a valuable consideration of the same estate or any portion thereof, whose conveyance shall be first duly recorded." (race-notice statute)

i won't bore you with the details of what they mean or how they're tested. just thought i'd share a snapshot of the wonderful experience that is studying for the bar exam. 4 weeks and counting...

oh, and property law is actually my favorite subject. it's the most antiquated, and therefore the most complex, and therefore the most interesting to me. i suppose some commercial transactions are far more complex, but there's just something so much more interesting about fighting over LAND than fighting over money.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

aiming for 75%

it's amazing how perspective affects things. in undergrad, i was used to getting 95% & above on tests. that's what you had to get to get an A. that's how little material they were trying to get us to memorize at once. that's how easy it was.

not so with law. my first semester i got around 58% on my criminal law test, and i got an A, got the highest grade in the class, and got an award for it. totally different perspective. you've got to totally change the way you think to take a test & walk out of the room feeling good about what you've done.

so i just took my second practice multistate bar exam. there are 200 questions on the multistate. to "multistate out" in my state, you have to get a 150 scaled score. today i got a 147 raw, 159 scaled. they wouldn't even grade my essays if this were the real test--as long as i made a good faith effort, i would have passed the test.

but i got 53 questions wrong. 53. that's insane. i did terrible; i don't know enough. i've been trying really hard not to be perfectionistic about this test--to major on the major things, and leave the details for other people. you can't know everything--it's really impossible. in practice you have to look everything up anyway. so you've got to concentrate on the stuff they test on most often. but man, how do you leave a test missing 53 questions & feel good about it?

the funniest thing to me is that i do the worst in contracts. i spent 3 semesters as a TA for a contracts professor. mind you, the second semester of contracts is much more complex, and i never took sales, both of which are tested heavily in the contracts section. but i wonder how bad i'd be doing if i hadn't TA'd. more ironic still is that i consistently score the highest in evidence--the only subject i ever got a B in--the class that ruined my perfect gpa.

so yeah. fun stuff. my life is this test right now. wish there was something more exciting to share. only 4.5 more weeks, and then it's all over.

oh, and i've gone through 3 more pens since i last wrote...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

of pens & ink

today my pen ran out of ink.

i have developed an affinity for a certain kind of pen. it's a papermate flexgrip ultra, fine point, blue ink. about a year ago i ordered 15 of them online, because they don't sell them in stores anymore--apparently they've moved on to the next generation of pen--papermate flexgrip elite (or something like that).

over the past 3 weeks or so, i've been handwriting a lot of things while studying for the bar. through law school i took all my essay exams on the computer. it's been forever since i've had to do a significant amount of hand writing. so i've been writing old bar exam issues and answers by hand, and this week i started writing out flash cards to get my hands used to all that writing. so i've been using up a lot of ink.

and today the first pen bit the dust. After that, i quickly went to count all the other ones i had left--i don't want to run out of ink before the exam. and after spending so much time getting used to the weight and style of the pen, i don't want to have to adjust to another kind. so i think i have about 6 left, and i'm hoping that will be enough to get through the bar.

ah, what minuscule and unimportant things gain such significance when you're spending hundreds of hours locked away in the house, studying for such a test. only about 7 weeks left before life returns to semi-normal. i'm so looking forward to that day.

Friday, June 01, 2007

small things

i found the light switch to my garage today.

this may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me. i've moved into an old house, and it's a little quirky. i've been here for 2 weeks, and never was able to figure out how to turn on the garage light. i had just figured that it was burned out, but it was so high up that i hadn't tried to change it yet. so imagine my surprise when i tried to turn on the hall light (to shine out into the garage) and finally found the right switch.

yes, this is the type of thing that gets me excited these days. since all my time is spent studying and working, it's the small things that make me smile.