Advice. The definition of that word is guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative. It can come from folks you don’t know and naturally, it can come from those you do know. I don’t have a problem with taking it from either of these sources. The reason? I fully believe that there are times when people are able to speak into your situation without actually knowing all the details. I also believe that people who know you can offer sound advice.
Before my divorce got underway, I had decided to take a few paralegal refresher courses in Dallas because it was my intent to resume my paralegal career in Texas. We all know how that turned out, so I’ll forego the tale. Anyway, there were only two other people in the class and while I did have a slight advantage over them because I am a fully certificated paralegal, I needed to gain knowledge of Texas laws and statutes. I made a slight connection with the instructor because he had practiced law in Colorado, where I had actually worked, and I also met an older gentlemen who had been stationed in Colorado during his military career. He was also a pastor. I never had any conversations with either of them outside of anything related to litigation. That fact is why I was stunned one day when the older man sat next to me in the law library.
We had been given the assignment to cite some precedents and statutes and I was sitting at a table, minding my own business, blasting Maroon 5 in my earbuds and working on that assignment. There were plenty of empty tables in that room, but he sat immediately across from me. I gave him the obligatory nod but kept working. I noticed that he wasn’t really working, but I was busy, so I didn’t say anything. After about five minutes, he motioned for me to take my earbuds out. He wasted no time. He said, “Trease, all I can to is what God is telling me to do, so here goes. All I see when I look at you is a wall of tears. You make us laugh all the time, but you are so incredibly sad on the inside”. I just stared at him. I didn’t say a word. He continued by saying, “You are fighting a hard, hard battle for someone you love with all your heart and would die for, but you need to get in your closet and leave that thing there. You are holding on to that person and that problem with everything you have and it’s wearing you down, but you won’t back down. You need to go to your closet. You need to go to your closet. You need to go to your closet. You need to go in your closet.” He repeated that sentence four times. I knew exactly what he was talking about. He was making reference to my son. I never said a word to him, but I took his advice and handed it all over to God. That night, I slept better than I had in months. That was some of the soundest advice I had ever received, and it came from someone I would consider a stranger as we really had no relationship.
I love getting advice from the people I’m closest to, also. The wealth of advice my mother passed on to me through the years carries me today. The wise words that my aunts give me to this day keep me sane. I actively seek the advice of friends who have gone down the same road I’m on. One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received from Mama was to listen to anyone who offers advice, but to go ahead and do what’s best for you. Those are some of the wisest words you’ll ever hear.