“There is a moment in all of our lives when we must shift from perpetually blaming others for our situation and own our role in where we are in life.” So says Bishop Joseph Walker, III, in “The Tennessean”. We have no control or responsibility for what happened yesterday and, he says “We cannot ignore the impact of them.” Yet we must take responsibility for the rest of our lives.
Harmful things in the past are not going away, but how we deal with them is up to us. In order to do so we must muster up all the courage and resilience that’s within us and move forward. Blaming others will not change anything and most likely make things worse.
Bishop Walker is not brash nor bold when he says, “The reason some constantly blame others is because it creates a justification for them to wallow in their misery and do nothing but complain rather than get up and do something about it.”
How right he is
Recently, I saw a young man who at the age of six was taken with his four siblings out of their mother’s house because of the worst kind of child abuse. Later all five of the kids were adopted by a family who continued to be abusive. At age 16 he ran away to a “teen rescue” house and was given permission by his parents to stay there. He graduated from high school and now plans to join the Marines.
He was pleasant, good-looking, and smart. “How did you get through all that?” I asked.
“I said to myself every day, ‘I will not grow up to be like them!’ I kept my attitude good, stayed happy, and dreamed about the day my wife and I have our own kids and adopt some others, just to show the world that parents don’t have to abuse their kids.”
WOW, there are lots of great people in the world and he is one of them. He has followed the advice of the good bishop.
Walker goes on to say: “…we must shift our mindset from using misfortune as a crutch and develop the tenacity do what is within our power to do to change our own reality.”
I was talking about this with one of my adult sons and commented, “We are where we are because that’s where we want to be.”
Like any dutiful son he replied, “Not always true. What about the guy who is t-boned by a drunk driver and paralyzed?”
“It’s true, it’s not his fault that he is paralyzed, but how he responds to that handicap is his responsibility.” I responded. Then to make my point I added, “Think of Charles Krauthammer who lost all motion from his neck down, finished medical school, became a psychiatrist and as his interest in government and politics grew, he became a news commentator on Fox News.”
If you want to see what can be done with hard work, determination, courage, and persistence check out Dr. Krauthammer’s story. Or better yet, read his book Things That Matter.
Our pastor, Fr. Joe, put it this way, “Most of us are crucified between two crosses; the cross of regret about the past and the cross of fear of the future.” My friend, Corinne Edwards, agreed saying we should “Stay in this present moment and not keep hanging between the crosses.”
To read all of Bishops Walker’s column go to: http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/04/30/key-change-taking-personal-responsibility/83291972/.