Litigator to Collaborator by Dennis Lerner

by Guest Blogger December 04, 2013

I don my armor with its collected dents from hard fought battles.  

Who can remember which were wins and which losses?  

Weren’t they all both? 

Even the wins, I think, were more loss than win.  

It is hot in here.

Perhaps a foreshadowing of my end.

You see, I am weighted down by all the safeguards and protections I need

To be able to take on my friend and colleague in the ritual of battle 


I am here 

For the poorly reasoned satisfaction of my sponsor.  

He pays handsomely, 

For the illusion of our earnest battle for truth and justice.  

He learns slowly, if at all, that the rules we all follow 

Maximize the sound and fury, but carefully limit the risk.


Still, it remains a trial by ordeal, just as it was

At the beginning 

When it was created to substitute spectacle 

For clan wars and feuds and burning huts.


Only now, in an ironic reversal, the ordeal is inflicted on the sponsors of the battle

And not their champions, their gladiators.  

I am embarrassed by the archaic nature of it, 

But in the end, we will not be hurt, only they, the sponsors, will. 

Their hurt may well go on 

Long after our jousting is over and the prized pot divided.  

The ritual of it may still succeed in preventing clan wars and feuds, 

But it doesn't protect children, foster healing, or give us, who do it, satisfaction.  


The best you can say of it is that it may pay well, 

And it gives some a mask behind which they act out their pretend or real anger

A chance to prove their worth 

Against another combatant, at yet someone else’s expense.

That, my listener, is a pretty sad basis for continuing this medieval rite 

Of passage from marriage back to singleness.


How lucky are you,

I see your armor in a pile, rusted, disused

Reason and hard sought fairness, now your objective

you practice a healing art 

Not alone do you labor, against a foe

But in league with others of your kind

You belong, are supported, encouraged and shown

There are solutions, that aid healing, accept mourning, and foster growth

I wish that I could join you

But this armor is as hard to shed as it is to put on

Will you help me?

Comments (3) -
12/11/2013 11:43:53 AM #

Wonderful!  Thanks for your creativity and wisdom!

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12/11/2013 12:02:18 PM #

Thank you! Excellent!

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12/12/2013 12:09:19 PM #

Thanks for the post, Dennis.  I have found there is healing that is needed to move from litigator to collaborator.  For me I had to acknowledge the damage to families and society that I was enabling by litigating and, in the end, I had to let it go.  A friend recently sent me well-wishes as support of trials and tribulations that I am going through with my father's health.  The sentiment applies to the transition from litigator to Collaborator.  I pass the gift on to you, and to others for whom this strikes a chord:

Poet and Catholic priest, John O'Donohue, wrote the following:

              May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart,
              To come alive to the eternal within you,
              To all the invitations that quietly surround you.

              May the Angel of healing turn your wounds
              Into sources of refreshment.


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