A Life is Like a Garden
By Rawls McNelis + Mitchell on April 02, 2015
Recently, one of my original favorite actors, Leonard Nimoy, passed away. Eerily, his final tweet (if you don’t know what a tweet is, do not feel bad) posted several weeks before his death was as follows: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. [Live long and prosper].” Whether Mr. Nimoy appreciated his impending end or the timing of this final message was purely coincidental, I can only speculate. I will say, however, that one thing I have learned in representing veterans and their families through their challenges is that a common thread among the veteran population is the constant inclination to see the beauty in life’s “garden”. I’ve had some truly sad cases. The types of cases where, even if you win for the client, everyone still loses in the end. There are some losses that money is simply incapable of replacing and sometimes winning in the case only heightens a client’s awareness of this reality. As you can imagine, these types of cases provide a rich breeding ground for cynicism on the part of the client and myself as to adequacy of the justice system and life itself. Yet, against long odds, hope persists because hope is less driven by circumstance and more driven by perspective. My role as an attorney is not just to be an advocate to my client, but to also be a “counselor”—a source of guidance and advice. But I’ve come to find that our veteran clients, albeit unintentionally, are often the ones providing me valuable life lessons. Despite facing truly hard times (not the modern world hard times such as when someone gets your coffee order wrong or you didn’t get as much sleep as you would have liked), I marvel at how my veteran clients strive relentlessly to see the beauty in their “garden”. If the downpour of tragedy is too extensive to see any beauty in the present, many of them chose to focus on those “perfect moments” still preserved in memory instead of letting the rainclouds overcome their perspective. I wish I could say every case we take results in a happy ending, that justice is served and all wrongs are ultimately made right—but I would be lying if I did. Sometimes, at the end of the case (whether win or lose), all there is the very simple choice (for both the client and myself) to look over life’s garden and focus on its beauty or focus on its shortcomings. That choice can often be just as important, if not more so, than the outcome of the case itself. My sincere hope for all reading this post today is that, wherever life finds you, you have enough beauty in your garden (whether in the present or preserved in memory) to keep your spirits lifted. If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran and you need legal help (not just with regard to VA medical care, which is our primary focus, but any issue), reach out to us. At a minimum, if your problems are not ones we are equipped to deal with, we will try to point you in the direction of someone who is. Warmest regards until next time.