Friday, November 13, 2009


“If you are standing upright, don’t worry if your shadow is crooked.” ~ Chinese proverb

The past two weeks I’ve been reading an awesome book, the title of which was the selection of our book club for this month. In the story, Jimmy is one of three friends who meet as children and find their lives strangely reconnected as they become adults. Compared to his friends, Jimmy had all the ingredients for a disastrous recipe – a drunken father, an emotionally detached mother, and a childhood spent in a rundown neighborhood amid crime and poverty.

When Jimmy meets his second wife – after his first wife dies of cancer – she asks him if it is true that living a life of crime is in his blood. Jimmy, wanting to make a good impression on her, but also quite honest in the way he feels, replies that a more prominent tendency to commit crimes might be part of his DNA, but it is up to him whether he will ever allow it to get out or not. Being solely responsible for his small child after the death of his wife, he is determined to live honestly and within the boundaries of the law.

When I read that part, I was stunned at the accuracy of the statement...Jimmy is completely right. Regardless of what’s handed to us at birth, or throughout part of our lives when we were not in a position to change circumstances, we are in charge of what will happen to us and to our loved ones from this moment on.

Certainly, if one has lived a horrible reality, it is understandable that they feel compelled to act a certain way, yet, they are still responsible for the choices they make in the present, and those they will make it in the future. While past legacies and past mistakes might explain the cause of a certain type of behavior, they still don’t excuse it.

At some point, one must choose if they will continue to abuse themselves and others using their past as a validation for their poor choices or if they will pick themselves up and decide that enough is enough.

The cards one is dealt are important, but the game still has to be played before anyone can be labeled a winner or a loser. We have no choice on the cards we get, but we do have control on how we will manage our hand.

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