A lawyer whom I met before killed himself last week. Apparently, according to the newspaper, a judge wanted him to come to court to explain about some settlement funds. When the police came to his house, he went upstairs and shot himself dead. He had been on a lot of lawyer committees, and by all accounts, was somewhat of an over-achiever. But, in the end, he left two boys and his wife to deal with his mistakes for the rest of their lives. I am profoundly saddened by what has happened to his family.
We have so little time on this planet that it seems useless to spend that time blaming others and living with rage. Nelson Mandela said something to the effect that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We expect a lot out of others. People are not perfect. Many have their own demons, their own stories, about which we usually know nothing. People often suffer from addictions or emotional illnesses and feel they cannot confide in others. Unfortunately, these less than perfect people don't realize how flawed the rest of us are.
A really wise man, Don Clarkson, says, "If you can't talk about something, it's out of control." That statement rings true to me. Our country is so he'll-bent on punishing others. Our prisons are overflowing. Missouri has had an uptick in executions. I am saddened by how harsh we are on others, and on ourselves.
I am not a Christian, having been raised as a Jew. Yet, in this season of Christmas, it behooves us all to look to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus understood and preached the true meaning of forgiveness. I am so heartened by his words, "He who is without sin should cast the first stone" and "Judge not lest you be judged." Jesus understood that we are all flawed. We all have the potential to do good, to be redeemed, yet we all are imperfect. In this holiday season, I cherish the belief that life is not black and white, but shades of gray.