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Faces in the crowd

Last week I did a lot of traveling, and spent many hours at airports.  Needless to say I ran into many people, and for some reason or another, I was struck by the feeling that every one of these people had an interesting and fascinating story.

So, here I go again with some random thoughts.

In each and every life there has to be some pain, hardship or heart-ache no one else would want to experience. I’m convinced this is true.

Sometimes the suffering is unimaginable or unbearable, and most of the time we are totally uninterested and unaware of it.

People abused by loved ones , orphaned- physically and/or emotionally, addicted, challenged, rejected by their parents or children or  spouse, hated for what they did or who they are. The list is endless.

As an injury lawyer, I get to deal with all kinds of people, and try to get to know at least a little bit of their story and what makes them tick. Knowing how they live and what’s near and dear to each of them is really essential to advocating on their behalf.

Obviously a line must be drawn between business and personal, and some are more eager and willing to open up. Some are not able to, and for some it is important not to be so open, and that is totally understandable.

I see it all the time in my job as an injury lawyer.  Lives thrown into chaos.  Needless suffering, often times caused by  carelessness/ negligence, someone not paying attention on the road or whatever.

In a moment’s time lives are changed– dramatically and forever.

It might be the loss of a loved one.

Incredible suffering out there. Stores of grief galore.

And most of the time our response is to focus inward on our own problems. It’s easy to do. We all do it. After all, problems hurt.

There is a great expression of  ” walking a mile in someone’s  moccasins.”

From that perspective we can see our own stations in life more clearly, and, for a moment anyway, might be able to take peace knowing that someone else would love to have our problems for their situation is far worse and more troublesome.

Over 27 years of helping injury victims, it has become a universal rule that those injured most seriously are the most understanding, patient, and empathetic clients. They, who have every reason to complain the most, complain the least. They are inspirational.

Over the years I have forced myself to make an effort to become more empathetic.

That can only happen if an effort is made not to condemn and we are willing to walk a few steps– if not a mile– in that person’s moccasins.

I don’t for a second pretend to be some saint or want you to think I’ve even come close to mastering this effort because I have not, but hopefully I’ll do my best.

Like you, there are and will be successes and failures.

The important thing, I believe, is that we stay mindful of the goal, and do the best we can with what we’ve got.

My clients, on a daily basis, are constant reminders to me that there is a lot of suffering out there, and many people in the crowd who need a helping hand.

I’m thankful for these clients because they help me to become a better person.

Keep your strength, and thanks for reading my street-side philosophy.

Charlie Donahue

Injury Lawyer

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