Thursday, February 11, 2016

Of Bags and Boxes

The duffle bag I've had since 2000.  Photo by Jeno Berta

Greetings All:

It's been an interesting ten days since my last blog post.  First, the good stuff:  I got to see my youngest daughter sing at her variety show.  My oldest also got to perform last night.  I watched it on video as our youngest was a bit under the weather.  Still, I got to see it.  

Simply put, It is a gift to see your kids perform.  It is an especially wonderful gift after a bad week.  More on that in a moment.

Oh, and then there was Saturday night.  Dawn and I got to attend the Riverbend Make-A-Wish Gala.  We get dressed up twice a year and this is one of them.  

Dawn and I at Make-A-Wish Saturday night (at the end of it)  Photo by J. Berta.

Now for the not-so-great-stuff.  Last Thursday, I spent 12 hours in an administrative hearing for a client and it did not go well.  I was profoundly disappointed with the decision.  The hearing was over 7 hours away from home and even though it was after 9:00 p.m. when it was over, I drove well into Indiana just to ensure I'd be closer to home on Friday morning.  (As I mentioned above, I had a variety show to get to that night.)

I stayed the night in Seymour, Indiana at a very nice Holiday Inn Express.  I had a clean room and a soft bed.  I was exhausted.  There was no reason I should not have been asleep before my head the pillow.

An hour later- I'm still staring at the ceiling with the events of the day replaying in my head...over and over again.  I don't know when I finally fell asleep.  I don't think I really slept that night.  Instead, I think I just gave into unconsciousness.

The next morning, I was eager to get on the road.  For some reason, I took a picture of the bag that leads off this blog.  I have had this bag for over 16 years.  I took a moment to think about all the places this bag has been with me.  More than a few miles and more than a few unique places.

I made it home in time for the show.  It was nice to get back to normalcy.  However, the hearing was still re-playing in my head.  If it's true you learn more from your failures than your victories, then I learned a ton.

On Sunday, I unloaded the briefcase I had taken with me.  Here's a photo of it:

My file from my case last Thursday.  Photo by J. Berta

This is not so much of a briefcase what was once called a "catalog case."  I recall my high school debate coach referring to these as, "critter boxes."  I had borrowed this "critter box" from my friend and was grateful to have this much space.  I needed it.

I've been a lawyer for almost 22 years.  I have had victories and defeats.  I've experienced great highs and really, really bad lows.  It has been a l-o-n-g time since I have experienced such a low as I felt last week.

I don't get into court nearly as much as I used to, so perhaps the "loss" I experienced on Thursday stung more than other ones had in the past.  I also am convinced that the client I had the privilege to represent deserved better than the outcome that was handed down. 
And yet despite my profound disagreement with the outcome, it was an outcome that was grounded in a system of justice unique to America.  I got to stand in a courtroom where the rule of law was in effect.  Here is a photo of that place.

The courtroom I appeared in last Thursday.  Photo by J. Berta
Now, let's fast-forward to Sunday.  The temperature flirted with 40 degrees and it was clear.  I had some unfinished business in the backyard.  We have two dogs.  I think you know where I'm going with this...

After about 20 minutes the "clean up" was finished.  There was so much dog poop that I had to double bag it.  As I gently placed the bag in the trash, I took a bit of satisfaction in finished a task that I needed to address.   Two days prior, the bag on my mind was my travel bag.  This day, another bag.  Both represented tasks to complete and completed they were.  

In our lives we have things we carry.  Some only once, others, over and over again.  In some of these items, boxes or bags, are things that are valuable, sacred even.  I'd argue for me, there is nothing more precious, save for matters related to my family, than a file for client, a client who entrusts to me their case.  In others, there are things to be removed from our lives.  

I think the trick in life is to know how to appropriately spend our time and energy on the things we carry in our various boxes and bags.  Some are tangible and real.  Others are mental and emotional.  

And the later can be a whole lot more heavy than the real ones.
Be well my friends, 

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