I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…
Innocence or guilt. It doesn’t really matter. When someone is charged with a crime, Van Gogh’s “Old Man in Sorrow on the Threshold of Eternity” is worth more than a thousand words. A charge against you by the state can be devastating.
When The Warrior, the Journal of the Trial Lawyers College, put it on the cover of the magazine a little while ago, it was meant to illustrate the issue’s theme of serving the mentally ill. But, looking at it before I knew this, I was struck by how it captured the fear, sorrow, and sometimes shame of the people who come to me in legal crisis.
A criminal charge does often feel that it has placed you on the threshold of eternity, that how your life looks from here on may depend on how this all turns out. It isn’t necessarily true, but it feels like that.
Another feeling this painting evokes is that of utter loneliness, of abandonment from the world.
But know this: you are not alone. As long as there are men, as long as there are women, who will see what Van Gogh saw, and not look away, you are not alone.
You are not alone.