This week it began, the holiday lights being strung throughout the neighborhood and a few brave souls are lighting up the pitch darkness of 5 pm already. It is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. There is hope. People are a bit softer and kinder, reaching into a bit deeper into their pockets and cupboards wanting to assuage hunger and prevent disappointment in children during this holiday season. With a brief whiff of evergreen, I am transported back to time when it was just pure joy, even as a child of divorce. It is the one time of year where we pause and think of family no matter how far away or nutty they may be, honor our traditions while we pass them along and make new ones. There is a general shift focus on making other people happy. In a time when there is so much sadness, glimpses of a smile from another weary traveler or a beleaguered gate attendant reminds us we are not alone. There is joy and accomplishment in each cookie baked, present wrapped and warm greeting no matter what holiday you are celebrating. It is the most wonderful time of the year, right?
Even during this season of magic, there are days I see and hear too much and it makes my heart hurt. There are days when I wish I could be something else "when I grow up". The pain I see is from the people who have been hurt by the ones they loved and trusted the most and from the ones who have done the hurting. There are days I wonder why that "fine line between love and hate" can't be a little less fine. There are the days I do more than skim the stories of those who changed their life after 40, looking for even the tiniest confirmation I can still be a professional travel blogger or invent something the world has always needed but just did not know it. I am a big believer in the gratitude theory. There is no argument that being grateful for all you do have rather than what you don't, puts you in a much better place to handle the impossibly tough stuff. So, when I drink my coffee out of the "glass half full" mug, I need to pull it down because that is my goal for the day (not because I forgot to run the dishwasher and it is the only clean vessel in my house.)
This Thanksgiving and holiday season as I battle in the trenches for other peoples fights, dealing with the indignities of frivolous positions and often less than professional adversaries who make understand why lawyers are not a beloved group, I will try to remember to be grateful for my job. I have the privilege of representing kind and struggling people. I have been trusted to make things better, to protect their money or more importantly their children. I have been in their shoes and came through the fire because someone along the way helped me through. I get to pay it forward. My mistakes had a purpose and I never need to wonder "why me"? In the end I get to bear witness to the strength of the human soul and watch the triumph that is peace and happiness. I see clients and their children grow and flourish and find their way to new friendships and love.
This job, with all the immeasurable heartache, gives me the biggest gift of all, perspective. I get only a few moments to wallow in the latest tragedy of my own day before I am quickly reminded someone has it worse. (Yes, the new car was wrecked but I need to remember my son is safe and no one else was hurt.) Perhaps that is what this holiday season reminds us all, that we are blessed even in times of trouble. So this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for healthy children, the songs belted out by my aspiring Broadway star at 6 am, the invisible friends keeping my 5 year old's imagination growing, the new saxophone that will soon be filling late nights with music from my boys, a loving Husband to share a warm bed, my family by blood and those adopted by heart, those friends who travel from far to share a glass of wine, and those who simply send their loving thoughts, pumpkin spiced everything, and of course, cold turkey sandwiches. I will remember these blessings. I will remember there are those less fortunate, lonely, hungry and weary. I will share my blessings whenever I can.
So Griswold away my friends, the earlier and brighter we light this world up the better. You won't see any Facebook comments from me.
© Krista Barth, 2015