Some years ago, a friend of mine was wrongly accused of voter fraud. He was prosecuted for voting for several elderly relatives for whom he had power of attorney and their permission, but without an obscure form that he did not know was needed. Rather than simply disallowing those votes, the municipality prosecuted him. This had great fallout to his career, his family and defending himself was a great expense. He was also hurt by the fact that he knew and had held in high regard those who chose to prosecute him. This was one of those cases of "No good deed ever goes unpunished." I remember supporting my friend through this injustice, and I remember his saying something I thought was interesting. He said he prayed not just for a positive outcome, but that he would not become bitter, as a result of this experience I thought this was interesting, because I thought that we alone were in charge of whether we chose to become bitter or not. I am rethinking that perspective now.
Most of the time I concentrate on the very good things in my life. I was given the gift of terrific kids. I have been fortunate to have great faith and I have felt the love of God. I have enjoyed all the homes we acquired or built. I take very little for granted. I have known terrific animals and had them in my life for long periods of time. For all these things I am grateful.
Of course, into every life rain must fall. Rather than reciting a litany of losses and disappointments, because we all have had them, I will just say that adulthood has been strewn with losses and sorrows, most of which I have weathered. However, I would be foolish to say that my strength and resiliency was not adversely impacted by the layered losses of the past. Sometimes it seems like a great deal of the joy on Earth has gone somewhere else. Daniel who was only twelve has passed, friends have moved to Belize, others to Europe. I get the distinct impression that smart people, (or perhaps just wealthy people) are getting out of the United States as quickly as they can, and they don't plan to come back. Everywhere I look organizations and systems which worked well before are eroding or being dismantled. I don't like the world that is emerging. The result is that I no longer invest my time or my money in many of the activities I once did. I don't trust people as I once did. Too many of them have been proven to be wholly self serving. My adult children are a good deal more guarded and reticent about business deals and people than I was, and I think they may be right. The world has changed into a darker age.
This week, as Thanksgiving nears, I pray that each one of you who reads this post, whichever blog on which you might find it, finds a measure of peace and some time to recharge. A dark age does seem to be coming. However, we don't have to become dark inside in order to cope with it. We can still do the right thing. We can still support our friends. We can still choose not to become bitter from all the layered losses.
I'll try, if you will.