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Unbalanced Force



After saying goodbye to a our tireless group of US and Ugandan lawyers and law students , Scott took a minute to say thank you.


"As you all arrive back in your various homes (some have already slept in their own beds for at least one night), I wanted you to wake to a thank you message from me.

 

Your memories of the week might be of the good you did.  You should remember the names and faces of your colleagues and -- more important -- the clients you served.  You should feel great about the "wins," whether cases resolved or remandees released.  But I posit that you should also remember the challenges and "failures" with an equal sense of pride.

 

You all interacted with hundreds of accused persons and justice sector stakeholders last week.  Most (if not all) of the remandees had never spoken to a lawyer, yet alone received any level of service or advocacy.  Many of the prosecutors and judicial officers with whom you had contact never dealt with prepared, zealous, ethical and tenacious defense advocates.  I suspect prison staff have never experienced an invasion of dedicated and passionate non-Ugandans so desperate to assist if allowed.

 

So whether you resolved cases or not, your week was a success.  Your time was not more successful if one of your cases was "celebrated" with interviews and notoriety even during the week.  Similarly, your time was not less valuable if you labored quietly alone in a prison corner, running your head repeatedly into a brick wall of inefficiency or resistance and not concluding a single case.

 

You all said yes, showed up, worked diligently and cared deeply.  I saw it.  And the remandees saw it.    

 

Isaac Netwon's First Law of Motion (also called the Law of Inertia) states that a "body at rest tends to stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it."  Although that law applies to the physical world, we all have examples from our own lives when an "unbalanced force" moved us from a static position of rest, comfort or inactivity.  God.  A parent or friend.  A teacher or professor.  A book.  A story.  Even our own dissatisfied hearts or the small internal voice telling us there must be "more than this" and to do something.

 

But there is also a physical phenomenon called "stiction."  It is the force that keeps us where we are.  The first fraction of movement from a place of rest is the hardest.  Once movement starts, it takes far less force to maintain than it does to initiate.

 

The best part of my job is being surrounded with people who are already moving.  Some unbalanced force already brought them into the work and towards Sally and me.  Our job is to maintain and encourage continued movement, which is the easy part.  Because you all were already moving because of your "yes."

 

So, whether your week was one of joy or frustration.  Whether you feel you did your "best work" or not.  No matter if you want to come back immediately or never want to hear the word "remandee" again.  Tired and sick or refreshed.  Deeply impacted or numb.  You all said yes to something ridiculous and audacious.  It was costly -- time, money, effort.  But it MATTERED and it HELPED and it CHANGED THE WORLD because it changed the trajectories of hundreds of lives.

 

One at a time.  

 

Blessings to all of you.  I look forward to seeing each of you again and, God willing, serving with you again.  As you go back to your lives, know that there are scores of people still in Uganda -- and Rwanda and Ghana -- continuing and building on your work.  

 

Making sure the body stays in motion.

 

Thanks for the unbalanced force that you all applied on behalf of Uganda and it's least the past 10 days." 

2 коментарі


Steve Norris
Steve Norris
13 бер.

Alright now. This note boils it all down to the existential core of the good work you do, and is perfectly put together. God is with us and values ALL that we do in His name - whether it is recognized or not, worthy of mass attention or is never noticed. He is present as we all work regardless of what we do, intimately part of the process, and the author of it all. Brilliantly put Scott, thank you.

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Sally Leist
14 бер.
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Thanks Steve. Your words are so encouraging!!!

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