Sunday, April 25, 2010

Embrace the gray...

Law school professors say a lot of things.  I could fill thousands of pages with the words of law professors - words I was supposed to absorb and remember.  

But most of those words went in one ear and right out the other.  A lot of it was gibberish.  A lot of it was probably pretty important.  Oh well. :)

Anyhow, I say all that so that I can tell you about one of the things I actually DO remember hearing.  It came from a woman I adore and admire, Professor Duncan.  She teaches Criminal Law, and she made me love it despite the fact that I was determined to hate it.  She is one of those professors you just want to listen to, though you're not sure why.

I can't remember what we were talking about, but she said something profound, and it went a little something like this.  "The law is almost never going to be black and white.  It's mostly a lot of gray.  Learn to embrace the gray."

I hadn't thought of it this way because I'm definitely a black and white kind of person.  There are rules, and you follow them, and that's the end of the story.  

But the law is just not like that.  There are rules, but they're definitely not black and white.  And when you throw a bunch of facts into the mix, it all really does become gray. A lawyer's job is to attempt to create a black and white argument from this sea of gray.  

And in the very few rare instances in which the law is black, your client's situation may very well be white, and then you're praying to goodness that you can create enough gray to keep them out of trouble.

So hearing this just made law school a lot simpler for me.  I was done looking for the "right" answer.  I just learned to look for the gray areas and argue both sides.
And, because I'm me, I also thought about this phrase in a different context.  

Life, like the law, is also rarely black and white.  

I'm not talking religion or politics or anything like that.  

I just mean that the good times come with the bad. 

It seems like people spend a lot of time looking toward the future, waiting for the day when they'll have more money or a nicer car or a house full of kids.  Waiting for the day when they won't have to struggle to make ends meet.  

But I think that the good times are here.  Right now, in the midst of the hard times.  If you can't find happiness in what you have been given today, you won't find happiness in what you hope you'll be given tomorrow. Because the good things in life are often hidden amongst the bad - it's all just mixed in together in a sea of gray.  

You just take it all as it comes, and you learn to embrace the gray.


Melissa Grobler said...

I love this post. Sums up so much about how law school changes the way you look at everyday things. "Embrace the gray"

lowrytinam said...

I love this and it really makes you realize what is really important in life!

The Copeland Family said...

This is very profound...what great advice!

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