It was a heck of a spring for us, and summer promises to be just as exciting. At 16 weeks now, I am eager to move into the next phase of this pregnancy, eager to get the energy rush and know the sex of the babe, eager to show more (right now I'm in the "pregnant or fat?" stage), eager to feel the baby move. This summer we'll head to Richmond for a dear friend's ordination, and see my parents, have the baby shower, spend more time at the pool (under an umbrella) than humanly possibly.
Some of you may know, April 27th marked the 1 year anniversary of the tornado that ravaged my beloved town, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I lost my home and most of my belongings in that twister, and gained an appreciation for the goodness of the human spirit and the beauty of my Alabama law community. I was born under a lucky star; I survived and nothing I truly needed was lost to me: not my passport, myself, my wallet.
My house, moments after we crawled out of the basement; the top floor was my room.
It is hard to look back on where I was a year ago and take it all in. I was homeless, I felt completely lost and numb. Neither my then-fiance nor my parents were with me; I couldn't sleep. Law school suddenly disappeared, just like that; finals were postponed, graduation was moved but still happened, everything changed. And two weeks after the tornado hit, we packed up my dad's white pick-up truck and my rental car (my car was destroyed) and drove to Florida - and I haven't been back since.
Graduation from law school, Mr. Oram and I
Since then, I have done nothing with the law. It went from being my entire world, to being an odd memory wrapped up with pain and loss. Mr. Oram and I did not plan for me to work right away, and we already knew I wouldn't take the July bar. But...but then avoiding those three years became a necessity for my mind. The law became part of a life I wanted to block out, to forget about: somehow, my entire three years there became tangled up with the sound of shattering glass, the devastation of my favorite oak trees, the loss of my first grown-up car. I hadn't walked away from my decimated town, but from my entire career.
Now it seems I don't want to go back. Every time someone mentions taking the Bar or how important it is that I do that, I have a knee jerk reaction against it. I didn't take it in July, I put it off in February, and here's a new July already almost upon me. My first thought when anyone brings it up is always, "how dare you make me go back there!" I don't want to; all my legal knowledge and ambitions are now tied inextricably with the greatest fear of my life: dying, dying helplessly in a basement, in my underwear!, while the sound of tearing sheet metal drowns out my frantic hail Marys.
My neighborhood, as seen from what used to be my room, but then became an observation platform. This used to be a view completely obstructed by oak trees that were centuries old.
I pushed past that enough to take the MPRE in February and passed it handily. But the July bar looms, and my mind rebels at the thought. I am frightened of all that: of having to study, of having the concepts come back to me like I know they will and remembering where and how I learned them, of knowing that I loved a place and then it was wounded and then I left it and never looked back. I abandoned my town, my friends, the whole life I had been building in the state I loved so much - and now I have to face it.
So amidst the joy of my summer, the growing child that I am so feverishly thankful to be alive to bear, I will be facing down a demon, by God's grace. I don't know what God wants me to do with my law degree, but I guess acknowledging that I have one will be the first step in finding out.