“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” – Thomas Carlyle
Be careful of the potential client who walks in the door telling you he or she wants to go to court to redress grievances, and that it isn’t about the money, it is about the principle. They need professional counseling, not a lawyer. When the principal comes due, they often are not happy about paying the bill and will make you regret representing them at all.
We are all dying, we are just dying at different rates. For some, they have figured out how to “die” while they are still alive. As an attorney seeking to resolve client’s problems, I am often confronted with those who really never cared to resolve their problems at all. They are so focused on the anger that they carry with them everyday. Anger about something that occurred in the past. Something that cannot now be changed, and something that is distracting them from living in the present. So that they are really “dead” to life and the possibilities around them. Avoid those individuals at all costs!
I have been absent from this blog for a few weeks dealing with my brother’s illness and other matters in my life as I catch up, I have decided to return to my computer and provide this brief observation which I hope will help you move through your own trials and tribulations.
Back to my brother, Rob. He has the uncanny ability to help those around him see the beauty in the world. He sees all the goodness that surrounds him, in the midst of a serious and life-threatening illness. He understands what is truly important – those who surround him, and his potential to leave this earthly existence better than before he arrived on this earth. Rob has never “checked out” and allowed earthly distractions take him off the path of life. Yet, frequently, I see individuals who focus on everything from the past and worry over the future missing everything around them. But the past cannot be changed and most of what we worry about happening in the future never happens.
“Stop and smell the roses” is a frequent lament of those who find themselves at the end of their lives. Never do they regret time spent with family. But they often express distress at the amount of time they wasted doing those things they believed were essential to acquire material things. My wife and I recently conducted an auction of many of our material things to simplify our lives in anticipation of the aging process. These were changes that were both warranted and invited. We did this on our terms and witnessed a large crowd gathered to see if they could exchange their money for our things. Honestly, the process was bittersweet. I saw ownership pass for things that my wife and I held dear. Many of those items were acquired under special circumstances which held memories which caused us to shed a few tears. It wasn’t so much the items that passed from us to another as the memories those items evoked as we watched ownership pass from us to others at that auction. Will they ever appreciate the emotion I felt as an older gentleman entrusted me with his sheep shears in a wooden case that he made to hold them? Of course not. Yet, it tore at my heart as I saw them pass without a full accounting of that story. Time was too short and I didn’t have time to grasp them by the arm to tell the whole story, so I shed a tear. But it is a tear shed for the wrong purpose. The memory is still there, fresh as the day it occured. It is a tear from the past. What is, is. To loose sight of that reality is to miss smelling the roses in the present.
Rob does not shed tears for the past or worry about the future. He lives in the present. Sights, sounds, smells and interactions are rich experiences for him now. Many of us go about revisiting the past and asking him to recount memories. In the process, we relive the past in hopes of experiencing those times, ironically, when we were “present” in the past.