What a great time of year to start a Director's Blog at RLS! I have so much to be thankful for! I want to use this blog to give you a sense of the struggles, joys and lessons learned in directing a nonprofit that does the vital work of helping poor people access free, high-quality legal services for civil legal problems. OK, so starting this job at a nonprofit in the middle of the Great Recession was maybe not the easiest thing I could have chosen, but I can't imagine a more rewarding way to use my law degree. Every day, I have a front row seat to the transformative power of the law, watching the hard-working, poorly compensated, yet dedicated staff in our three branch offices do their best to serve the legal needs of the poor in our community. On a good day, I see lives saved, homelessness prevented, families kept together, and legal rights vindicated. Even if our clients don't succeed (and circumstances can sometimes be stacked against you when you have few resources), they have at least been treated with respect and dignity by our staff. If you keep checking out this blog from time to time, you will find a surprisingly hopeful, sometimes amusing, always intriguing journey that this wonderful organization is on. Join us!
As we pause in our hard work to give thanks this week, I am reminded of my favorite quote from a 13th Century Dominican, Meister Eckhart: If your only prayer is "thank you", that will be sufficient. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a good tool to use in tough times. And how about a version of the traditional table grace that has a social justice ring to it? "Give bread to those who hunger, and hunger for justice to us who have bread." When you sit down at your Thanksgiving meal this year, whether alone, or with friends; whether amid plenty or want; I hope you will engage in the inspiring exercise of listing your reasons to be thankful. What a positive, affirming holiday, and what a great practice to be always giving thanks!