Tuesday, December 31, 2013


They can't be relived---only recalled. And that is a process which cries out for the power to second guess, to change a direction here and there, to re-evaluate and wonder "what if" over and over. Some are exhilarating, others frustrating and provoking anguish. Life cannot be free of mistakes for we would thereby forfeit the most accurate tool for learning and attempting to avoid.

In the December of your years, with free time more abundant than ever, the opportunity to reflect and reminisce is there for the taking and exploration should be embraced--not feared. For at this point in your game, there is nothing to lose and different degrees of satisfaction to be gained. Imagine watching a movie of your life. There is no delete button and the temptation to fast forward should be ignored. You sit in judgement of yourself.

Almost always, you will, in summary fashion, become aware of something that is not there, and the presence of its absence is everywhere. Malicious intent was and is foreign to your DNA.

When you retroactively recognize a mistake, it was, more often than not, predicated on inadvertence or poor --even reckless--decision making--but not an intent to harm others. No one can claim his life to have been error free, for this is inconsistent with the power of choice, and only vindictive people claim the right to throw the first stone.

When I sat as a member of the Judiciary, many individuals came before me, having been convicted of or having confessed to the commission of a crime. My task was to promulgate an appropriate sentence. A heavy burden, indeed. I would review aspect of the case, including, but not limited to, the defendant's background. Especially in cases where I did not deem him to be a danger to society, I was never afraid to exercise compassion where I felt it was warranted. Often, strictly supervised conditions of probation were opted for in lieu of incarceration. My life's experiences had taught me the virtues of compassion and never once did I run from it for fear of being criticized or second guessed. This I deemed to be its own brand of the courage to do the right thing.

Thus, when you evaluate yourself, fear not to have compassion for yourself, as you would have it for others.

Lessons of life are never without attending circumstances which bring with them the payment of dues commensurate with the particular misstep.

Giving yourself a break breaks no law.

Count the good things you've done in your life. Guaranteed, you'll need more than ten fingers.

Life's funny that way.

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