Thursday, May 22, 2008

"The genius of the man is his embrace of fear"

Norm Pattis is both a blogger and TLC alum. I've heard wonderful things about him over the years and been told that, despite his harsh words about TLC and Gerry Spence, he is a brilliant lawyer and person.

Having just returned from a psychodrama workshop a few weeks ago, I was happy to see Norm share his experiences with psychodrama in this article. It took a lot of guts to be that honest in the pages of a newspaper, especially in your hometown paper.

Gerry famously advised, in his book How to Argue and Win Everytime, that anger typically masks pain and that to get to the source of that anger you need to "follow the pain." Pattis always seemed both angry and in pain to me when he wrote about Gerry. Thus, it was nice to read about a reconciliation between them in his latest post.

As Norm says, after he saw Gerry at the Feiger trial in Detroit recently:

"Norm," [Spence] called out, sitting in his chair, spent after a day of cross. I turn and start to walk toward him.

"You know, I've never stopped caring about you." Simple words that stun me into silence. I mumble something and turn to walk out the door.

All day I thought about his greeting and his farewell. All day I thought about what I learned from him in his Wyoming barns. I know now that he is no different in court than he is at the working play at the ranch. His talk matches his walk.

But I learned a whole lot more this week. The genius of the man is his embrace of fear. He could have returned my scorn by simply walking away. It occurred to him for a moment. But he never runs away. His hug was a confession of sorts, and it unstrung me. And the farewell? Again courage. There was blood on a courtroom floor and strangers milling about. Yet simple kind and loving words that took courage to utter.

I lacked the courage to return them then and there. I regret that.

The truth is that I've never stopped caring for him. Perhaps these words will find their way to him."

Someone once told me that explaining psychodrama to a person who hasn't experienced it firsthand is like trying to describe the way an apple tastes. It may be that it's equally difficult to explain why this exchange and reconciliation between two TLC people is so poignant and moving.

Gerry's genius to me is embodied in his phase "love is always the winning argument." I've spent a lot of energy on losing arguments recently and have to come back to love as the pain of losing is so great.

So it's refreshing for me to see this exchange, this mercy and reconcilation. It's nice to see the prodigal son come home. It's even better to see him welcomed home by the man who once played his father.

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