By Leslee Lewis
Did you ever have one of those epiphanies of perspective? A moment when you find perfect clarity amidst a dizzying array of details, a hum-drum day, or a moment of sheer terror? These are the moments that change your perspective, your mind and sometimes your life. Recently, I had two.
Okay, first comes the confession. I have to admit that my life is not the glamorous TV-show drama one might hope – not LA Law, not Perry Mason, heck, not even Duck Dynasty. At least 20 bright-eyed, promising high schoolers have job-shadowed me over the years. Only two came away thinking they still wanted to be lawyers. . .”but not necessarily in your field.” Some of the more bluntly honest ones asked “how on earth do you do this contract stuff day in and day out?!” Still, I thoroughly enjoy what I do. And even some of the more mundane tasks are brightened because I work with clients full of decency and integrity. Some days the challenge of life on overdrive pace alone is a rush.
It was one of those mornings – the high-powered ones I envisioned when I was in college. Picture me: I had left the house early in my power suit and heels, having prepared all the family lunches and kissed the kids goodbye. I was the working woman’s vision of efficiency - all arms and electronics – dictating responses to accountants, returning a flurry of phone calls, dashing off emails, getting annoyed with tiny details and interruptions to my efficiency, and finally walking confidently into an all-morning meeting three hours from home, full of ideas and attitude. That’s when I got the call that every mom dreads: “Hello, this is the school. Your daughter is unconscious on the floor and we cannot revive her. We’d like to call an ambulance. Can you come right away?” SCREEEEECH! Attorney, meet perspective. Mom, hold on to your daughter.*
Fast forward. My family of five is on the highway, on vacation, chatting away. I am slightly desperately trying to meet a mundane administrative deadline while there is still data signal and before we get to our destination, which I chose. Even as my husband points out once-in-a-lifetime national forest scenery, I am calculating well-timed answers (look out, mention scenery, pass for responsive so that I can get this done before we actually arrive). Scenes from the movie RV scream through my mind. I am the last one out of the car as we park at the Grand Canyon (realizing I am not done, and doing the math on how early I will need to get up to meet the deadline).
Give me this piece of slack: when you pull up at the Grand Canyon, your first sight is just average trees and parking lots. You are sure the picture postcard view has to be there, but the first sights don’t send you jolting out of your car. Then you walk to the rim trail and – BAAAAM – there it is. This glorious circus of color and light, enormity and fierce danger is playing out right in front of you. It is enough to make you drop your iPad, and your jaw. And there are no walls! No fences! Right here are miles of beauty, millions of years of history, thousands of feet to fall, all laid out directly before you like an earth-sized painting or a shockingly dangerous and powerful love note from the creator. It is enough to make you feel absolutely minute, and yet unbelievably favored just to have the opportunity to gasp and take it in. You cannot see this and walk away the same person. You are RIVETED. And that little administrative deadline becomes what it always should have been – little - it can get done in the morning. Anything to have one more minute of this.
So many of us live lives that are not quite the picture of powerful perfection that we envisioned in our youth. Bumps happen that we never expected and certainly never scheduled. But, wow, the view from the edge is spectacular.
Perspective. Do you have it?
*P.S. My daughter is now okay. We are learning the new post-seizure normal. This sort of call shakes any parent, doesn’t it?