REPOST: Black & White: Occupying the Same Space and Living In Two Different Worlds

Considering the recent discussion over African-American actors and movies not nominated for Academy Awards this year, we thought this would be a good post to revisit.  Thank you, and enjoy!

— The Staff at Loving Me More

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Originally posted on October 13, 2014

My Dear Readers,

      Will we as a nation ever come together?  Will we ever be able to respond to the vast and growing racial divide that separates us?  Have we reached the limits of our endurance?  Will it continue to matter?

       How does a situation seen by peers of two different racial groups seem so different?  Both groups respond from their own perspectives. Neither is wrong…Both are different.

Below is such a story…

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Dear Visible Man,

I am looking for feedback regarding my response to a situation that occurred one month ago.  I feel that you and I share some similar experiences, so you may be able to understand my concerns.   Like you, I am an African-American man, I am educated, and I work for a high tech firm in the Puget Sound area.

I am also from the southern United States—I grew up in Arkansas.  I attended segregated schools and was dealt with harshly during the integration of white only schools back in the day.

Like many other African-American men, I have had negative experiences in my interactions with the police and as a result, I do my best to avoid interaction with them.  I noticed that when I drive past a police cruiser, my heart rate increases, and I watch the rear view mirror closely until the car has out-distanced it.

When a police cruiser pulls up behind me, I know he is running my license plates.  Although I know that I don’t have anything to worry about, I am a ball of twisted nerves until he pulls away.

The few times I have been pulled over by the police, I have kept my hands glued to the steering wheel and clearly narrated all of my movements. I have been following the Five Rs of Relief model and I have been implementing them into my daily actions and behaviors.  I want to thank you as I feel it has strongly impacted my life.

Recently, while driving in alone at night in an isolated area of a white community in Seattle, I was almost t-boned by a police cruiser that came out of nowhere.   The only thing that prevented the accident was my ability to swerve out of the way.  Needless to say, I was very upset.

Here’s what I’m really writing about.   As I drove away, I noticed that the police cruiser was 10-12 car lengths behind me.  I was not angry, but I felt I had to do something.  So, I pulled my vehicle over and waited for the police cruiser to approach and in doing so I waved him over to stop.

The police cruiser pulled over.  The driver got out of the car, and the other officer also got out and stood nearby.  I informed the officer of my concern regarding his actions.  The officer acknowledged he was in the wrong, thanked me for being alert, and apologized for the distress his carelessness had created.

He extended his hand, which I accepted.  I then returned to my vehicle and continued on my way.  At the time, I was thrilled about the way I handled the situation and how I handled myself.  Like I said, I was not angry.  I explained myself in a calm and rational manner.  I had resolved the issue.

Here is where it becomes quite interesting.  When I tell the situation to my friends who are also of African-American descent, they react in disbelief.  I have received responses such as:

  • Have you lost your mind?
  • Do you have a death wish?
  • You are an educated man, why would you do something so stupid?
  • You must think that because you are educated that the police will treat you different.

I have also mentioned the incident and shared it with my coworkers who are of Caucasian heritage.  The responses I’ve received from them has been very different.  I have received comments that include the following:

  • You did the right thing.
  • Good for you, to stand up for your civil rights.
  • You see, this shows that not all cops are bad.

I am confused by the difference in response and perspective.  I have been in therapy for 9 months following the loss of my spouse Dorothea.   We grew up together and were married for 35 years before she passed away due to cancer.  In talking to my therapist, who is also of Caucasian heritage, he was excited about advocating for myself.

As time has passed, however, I do not feel comfortable about what I did.  I have two adult sons, and I would never have encouraged them to do what I did.

What do you think about this? Do you think I did the right or was I being foolish given the circumstances?

An Educated Black Man

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Dear Sir:

First, I want to extend my condolences regarding the loss of your beloved Dorothea.  It is clear that you continue to grieve the loss of what was a loving relationship.

Second, I want to extend my appreciation for your use of the Five Rs of Relief.  I am glad to hear that the model has had a positive impact on your life.  However, I must question whether you are clearly interpreting the model as you move through the various steps.

It appears that given the distinctive and extremely different reactions between your friends, colleagues and therapist, you are now having second thoughts about the situation and how you handled it.  This perception is reinforced by your statement that

“I have two adult sons, and I would never have encouraged them to do what I did”.

The comments of those you have spoken to reinforce the fact that although that blacks and whites often occupy the same physical space and breathe the same air, they actually reside in two separate worlds.  The majority of black people in America do not trust those who wear the badge, and for good reason, given the history. On the other hand, the majority of white people in America view the police as public servants entrusted to “protect & serve.”

When it comes to racial conflict, this perceptive is reinforced.  In a recent Pew Research poll (8.18.14) regarding the police shooting and ongoing racial unrest in Ferguson, MO, 80% of blacks state the situation “raises important issues about race.”  This is in comparison to 47% of whites that indicate that “race has been getting too much attention.”

In your specific situation, I can appreciate the concern of your friends who are disturbed by your actions, but I disagree with the idea that you were “crazy” or “stupid.”

I do not believe that you were being foolish.  However, I believe that in your actions, you did place yourself at serious risk of harm and injury.  Although there was a good outcome, please do not pat yourself on the shoulder for your “good deed.”

It was by the grace of God that you encountered two police officers that although in the wrong, maintained their calmness and professionalism.  I am sure they were shocked to be flagged down by a black man at night in an isolated area of a white community, and at the fact that they needed to maintain that calm as they were being chastised.

It is a blessing that these police officers were secure enough within themselves and did not handcuff or arrest you on a frivolous charge of obstruction or resisting arrest.  In fact, had there been a physical encounter resulting in injury or death, there would had been no other witnesses.

As you have cited my theoretical model of the Five R’s of Relief (respite, reaction, reflection, response and reevaluation), let’s revisit the model beginning at reevaluation.  Ask yourself the following:

  • Following the near collision with the police cruiser, did I take a respite (step away)?
  • Understanding that you felt calm in your actions when speaking to the police officer, did you own your reactions? Especially having just avoided a major collision?
  • Having flagged down the police cruiser at night in an isolated area, were you clearly being reflective? What were you thinking and feeling?
  • As you stood alone out there in the dark speaking to the officer who was being watched by another officer standing in a defensive position, were you being responsive? Do you feel that this was the safe place to share your response?
  • More importantly, understanding what you have learned from your reevaluation of the situation what would you do differently next time?

It may be that due to your education, position and status in life, you may want law enforcement to view you as being different. You may also feel that your complexion should not be a consideration for the protection that you as a tax-paying citizen should receive. Martin Luther King spoke about this in his “I Have A Dream” speech:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’

However, that day is not TODAY.   When you step out of your vehicle and flagged down the police, the police officers saw a BLACK MAN.   One officer took a defensive stance.  It was only after talking to you that they did not perceive a threat and therefore could relax and end the interaction with a handshake.

The racial history of this country reinforces the fear that other races have towards black males.  Although black males cannot control or mitigate the internalized fears of others, we can and must maintain a posture of vigilance so that we, like the police officer, return home alive to our families.

Concluding Words

Mr. Educated Black Man,

My professional instincts tell me there may be more to this story. There is something that just does not hold for me as I replay your story over and over.   On one hand, you appear calculated in your movement and vigilant in your interactions with law enforcement, but I find it questionable that you would openly place yourself in a vulnerable situation. As I replayed your comments red flags arise:

  • You are grieving the loss of your spouse.
  • You are meeting with a therapist.
  • You acknowledged that you would never encourage your adult sons to take the actions that you did.

My concerns leave to me to question whether, given the scenario, you reached a point where you smothered your feelings regarding law enforcement. Were your actions an unconscious consideration for a potential “suicide by cop”?

I am concerned that you placed yourself at risk. Instead of exiting the vehicle, you could have filed a report with the watch commander of the precinct in which the incident occurred.  Why didn’t you consider this prior to exiting the vehicle?

If I am correct, there are internal questions you must want to resolve so that you can respond differently if a similar situation occurs in the future. When you next meet with your therapist, I would encourage you to actively pursue this line of questioning.

If I am in error, then there is nothing to it.   However, given the scenario being presented, it is something that I ask you to consider.

The last interaction terminated with an acknowledgement of responsibility and handshake with the police officer.  Let’s not allow the next one to result in condolences to your sons for the loss of their father.

Best regards to you,

The Visible Man

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REPOST: Justice Too Long Delayed Is Justice Denied

Originally posted on 2/3/2014.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King’s Birthday today, we here at Loving Me More thought it would be good to revisit a post from last February where Dr. Kane reflected on our attitudes towards justice.  Enjoy!

-The Staff At Loving Me More

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The quote “Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied,” generally attributed to William Ewart Gladstone, refers to the belief that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all.

Martin Luther King used the phrase in 1963 altering it to “Justice too long delayed is justice denied” in his notable writing, Letters From Birmingham Jail.  The addition of the words “too long” alludes to the idea that equality has always been promised, but if it is delivered in a timeframe that is not conducive to the impacted group, it is just as useless as not having been delivered at all.

It is during the celebration of Black History Month for the year 2014 that I reflect on this observation through the story of George Stinney, Jr.

In 1944, George Stinney, Jr, a 14 year old African-American boy, was sent to the electric chair by order of the state of South Carolina.  Stinney, called “Junior”, is the youngest person to be executed in the United States of America in the last century.

Junior was convicted of killing two white girls, ages 8 and 11,  in a trial that lasted barely two hours in one day, including jury selection and deliberation.   Junior’s court appointed attorneys called no witnesses.  The all-white, all male jury deliberated for ten minutes prior to reaching the verdict of guilty.

In 2014, Junior’s family, including his sisters, petitioned to re-open his case, and that case is currently being argued in the South Carolina Third Circuit court. The family’s goal is to clear Junior’s name, and to shed light on the shortcomings of his trial, including the fact that:

  • There was no physical evidence that Junior had committed these murders.  The sole evidence presented was the circumstantial fact that the girls had spoken with Junior and his sister prior to their murders.
  • Three police officers testified that Junior had confessed to the murders, but did not make written record of the confession.
  •  Junior’s court-appointed defense counsel was a tax commissioner seeking advancement in an upcoming election, which gave him no incentive to defend an African-American alleged killer.
  •  Junior’s defense counsel did not challenge the testimony of the police officers who testified to the confession, despite this being the only evidence presented by the prosecution.
  •  Junior at trial denied confessing to the crime.
  •  Junior’s sister indicated she was with him at the time of the murders, but she was never questioned by the police, prosecutor or the defense counsel or called as a witness.
  • Junior’s defense counsel did not call any witnesses.

On the day that Junior was executed:

  •   Junior walked to the execution chamber with a Bible under his arm.  The Bible was later used as a booster seat in the electric chair.
  •  Due to his size (5 foot 2 inches or 157 cm) and weight (90 pounds or 40 kg), his executioners had difficulties securing him to the frame holding the electrodes.
  • The adult size facemask did not fit him, falling off following the first 2,400 volts surge of electricity through his body.
  •  After two more jolts of electricity totaling 2400 volts, Junior was declared dead four minutes following the initial jolt.
  •  From the time of the murders until Junior’s death, eighty-one days had passed.

The impact on Junior’s family and the community was palpable:

  • Following Junior’s arrest, his father was fired from his job.
  • Junior’s parents and siblings were given the choice of leaving town or being lynched.
  • The family was forced to flee, leaving Junior alone with no support during his 81-day confinement, trial and execution.
  • Due to laws of racial segregation, African-Americans were not allowed in the courtroom.

Concluding Words- Dr. Kane

There is currently a motion before the South Carolina Supreme Court to obtain a “posthumous pardon” for Junior.  The motion alleges the following:

  • There is no transcript of the trial.
  • There was no evidence presented to the jury.
  • New evidence is being introduced, including:
  • Witness testimony from Junior’s sister, who  will provide testimony regarding Junior’s whereabouts at the time of the murders.
  •  Additional non-family witness testimony attesting to Junior’s whereabouts at the time of the murders.
  •  An alternative person, now deceased, has been advanced as a possible suspect. There is evidence that this person made a deathbed confession.
    •  The suspect is rumored to have come from a well-known, prominent white family.
    •  It is rumored that a member or members of that family served on the coroner’s inquest jury that recommended that Junior be prosecuted for the murders.

It is unclear whether any of the rumors are true.  There are factors that clearly indicate that there was no factual evidence in convicting a 14 year-old boy of these crimes.  It is clear that the two white families suffered in the loss of their little girls.

However, in this tragedy, there are lessons we can learn.  Mankind can learn how to love each other and “forgive the self” for the damage, death and psychological destruction that was caused.

Whereas man may not, God truly loves.

It was God who opened his loving arms and welcomed him home.

My mother, Mary Williamson Kane, used to say “God only wants roses in his garden. “

Junior, you are a rose.  Be at rest.  Rest in Peace.

Until the next journey…..

REPOST- A Victim No Longer: Foolish Behavior or Empowering the Self?

Originally posted on March 17, 2014.

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My Dear Readers,

Sometimes, we may engage in behaviors that others consider questionable.  However, deep within the psychological self, why this happens can be found.

Below is such a story. 

Dr. Micheal Kane

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Dear Visible Man,

      I am writing to seek advice regarding something that happened many years ago.  I have tried to forget about it, but the issue continues to return and is now impacting the way I feel about men.

     A little about myself:  I am a 40-year-old African-American female. I am single, and I work in a corporate setting.  Ten years ago, while traveling across the United States to meet someone I considered dating, I found myself isolated and alone with him, and I submitted to having sex with him.  Given the circumstances—it happened in darkness and in an area unknown to me– I felt I didn’t have a choice.  I admit that I didn’t clearly indicate to him no out of fear that I would be harmed, but I did on several occasions physically push him away.

      At some point, I relented and I had sex with him.  However, my body kept saying no and wanted this ordeal to stop.  In the morning, I was able to obtain help and get away.  I never filed a criminal complaint because I believed I consented.  I never went through counseling because I felt that I created the situation that lead to my experience. I felt that I acted stupidly and as a result, was responsible for what happened.  When telling the story, I have always minimized what happened, often laughing it off.

      Recently, I’ve been talking on the phone with someone I met online.  We both feel it’s time for us to meet face to face, but he resides in another state.  For safety reasons, I haven’t let him know where I live or other personal information, just in case things don’t work out. I told him that I would travel to the city in which he resides.  When the time came for me to go, I had a lot of anxiety, and flashes of my previous experience.  It’s disrupted my sleep and my ability to focus on my work.  I find myself having ongoing thoughts about the “what ifs” as well as imagining that this trip will be just like my previous experience.

      My family and friends are very much against the idea of me traveling to meet him. But, I really want to go because I do not want to continue to chat online.  I want to know whether we can begin to have something more.  What are your thoughts? How do I overcome these feelings?

Searching For Answers, Seattle, WA

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Dear Searching,

      It is interesting that as you ended your writing, you asked, “What are your thoughts?”  You did not request suggestions or recommendations.  Therefore, I will assume that you remain determined to visit this man, despite the advice of your family and friends.  Before I answer your question, I want you to know that I used the same model that I’m going to share with you.  I hope  that in reading this response, you will take the opportunity to follow this model as well. This model is the “Five Rs of Relief.”

  • First, after reading your story, I stepped to the side, taking a timeout (RESPITE).
  • I then focused on “owning my emotions” (REACTION).
  • From there, I began to process what I was feeling and thinking (REFLECTION).
  • I am now preparing to share what I am feeling and thinking (RESPONSE).
  • After writing this and receiving feedback from you and others, I will review what has occurred, what I learned and how I would handle this or a similar situation next time  (RE-EVALUATION).

     As there are a lot of moving parts to your story, it is essential to clarify the issues, and separate what happened 10 years ago from what is happening today.

  • What is the meaning of the physical and psychological reactions that are occurring?

  • Why are you in denial of the traumatic experience that you endured ten years ago?

  • Why do you ignore the victimization that was a consequence of this horrific experience?

      It is my deeply held belief that the psychological self will continue to advocate, seeking balance, and calmness; remembering the traumas, abuses, and the violence that the physical body fights to withstand and the intellectual mind struggles to forget. Given this, you must have the willingness to review and reconsider the following statement,

       “At some point, I relented and I had sex with him.”

       This was not sex. This was a violation.  This was clearly an act of sexual assault.   Be willing to ask, given the following wording, where is there an indication of consent?

  • “At some point, I relented….”

  • “..I felt I did not have a choice.”

  • “I did on several occasions physically push him away.”

       Clearly, there was no consent given for what happened to you.  Whether or not a criminal charge can be substantiated does not remove the reality that a sexual assault occurred.  Poor judgment or poor decision-making does not make you guilty for the horrific actions of someone else.

       Were you victimized?  Consider this:

  • “.. my body kept saying no.. “

  • “.. wanted this ordeal to stop.”

  • I never went through counseling because in what I allowed myself to happen.

  • I was stupid and therefore must assume responsibility.

  • When telling the story, I have always minimized what happened as well as laughing it off.

       Yes, there was victimization.  In addition there is denial and avoidance.

  • Why deny something that is so obvious?

  • Why deny counseling?

  • Why avoid the opportunity to heal from such a traumatic experience?

       Answer:  No one wants to view themselves as a “victim.”   Being a victim comes with the idea that you are weak, disempowered, or otherwise lacking. When someone is a victim, that individual suffers a loss of esteem, and a wound to how they see themselves.  To make up for this, you may seek to accept “responsibility” for the outcome of the grievous act. This is evident in your denial, avoidance, and minimization of the event, seeking to make it something it is not.

        It may be relatively easy to fool others in minimizing the emotional consequences of a traumatic incident.  However, the psychological self continues to replay the trauma, forcing the physical body to deal with what the mind is attempting to forget.

Concluding Words

So, how do you overcome these feelings?  Focus on the following:

  • Advocacy: Make it a priority to speak up for the self—YOUR self.

  • Balance: Balance the experience of the sexual assault with your ongoing life journey. Work towards “letting go” of the incident, instead of forcing the psychological self to forget the traumatic event it survived.

  • Calmness: Bring calmness and continuity to your life.  Do not limit yourself to the label of “survivor of sexual assault.”  Instead, have the willingness to become a driver (empowerment), striver (pace setter) and thriver (achievement) and in doing so walk the journey of self-discovery.

 Stop working overtime to overcome the feelings.  These actions are merely forcing the physical body to react and struggle in its response.  Instead, consider the following:

  • Seek mental health counseling

  • Acknowledge the victimization

  • Extend to the psychological self the gift of an apology for the actions of denial and avoidance of the suffering as well

  • Be willing to accept from the psychological self the gift of forgiveness for acceptance of responsibility for an action that was not for you to accept.

If you decide to travel to see this person, take heed to the lessons you learned from the prior incident:

  • Develop a safety plan.  Find a public place to meet, and make sure that you are able to leave anytime you wish.

  • Document significant information regarding this individual i.e. physical address, telephone number, email address etc

  • Provide your own lodging/accommodations, food etc

  • Limit your consumption of alcohol, and remember that if your drink is out of your personal sight, it is no longer your drink. Get another one.

  • Only meet with the individual in public settings.  Never accept an invitation to visit him at his residence.

  • Identify emergency resources in the local area i.e. police, fire etc

  • Provide a daily itinerary to family, friends and the management of the hotel that you are staying.

  • Be in daily contact with friends and family.

  • Create a password in communicating with your family and friends designating that you are either safe or in danger

Empower the self.  Being victimized does not mean that you cannot empower yourself to achieve a safe outcome.   It is clear that others may not understand your reasoning, but what’s essential is that YOU understand why you are initiating this journey. In doing that, make sure that you affirm to the psychological self that you have gained wisdom and learned from the past mistakes.  

“Once burned, we learn. If we do not learn we only assure ourselves that we will be burned again and again and again until …we learn.”

       -Ten Flashes of Light for the Journey of Life 

The Visible Man

REPOST: Steppin’ Off Into The Future And Doing The RITE Thing (For Me!)

Happy New Year!  As we embark on a brand new 2015, we wanted to share this post from Dr. Kane regarding choosing new paths when you find yourself at the crossroads.  Enjoy!

-The Staff At Loving Me More

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Originally posted on 11/12/13.

Dear Readers,

     In the previous week’s posting of the series The Visible Man, I responded to the comments of a young African-American man who was conflicted about many things, including remaining in school, dealing with psychological abuse and what direction to take in his life.  Essentially, he was standing at the crossroads of the journey we call LIFE and questioning what to do. I can only hope that he made the decision that best suits him, as it is his future and his life.
     Recently, I have had the opportunity to review two news articles, both of which I found to be insightful as well as intriguing.  I would like to share these stories this week.
     In these articles are stories of two men who share the following characteristics:
  • African-American
  • Football athletes
  • Responding to psychological trauma
     Both men essentially stood at the “crossroads” of their respective journeys.  Both chose different directions that produced different and distinctive outcomes.  Here are their stories:
Story #1 comes from the Seattle PI (10/30/13).
     A former football player for the Oregon Ducks is very dissatisfied regarding the lack of appreciation from his fans.  He compares his life as a college athlete as to that of a slave. His story:
“I remember walking in from fall camp practice and talking to my teammates about how similar our lives were to the TV series Spartacus.  We were slaves.  We were paid enough to live, eat, and train… And nothing more.  We went out on the field, where we were broken down physically and mentally every day, only to wake up and do it again on the next. 
On the outside, spectators placed bets and objectified us.  They put us on pedestals and worshiped us for a short time, but only as long as we were winning. In the end, we were just a bunch of dumbass (racial slur) for the owners to whip, and the rich to bet on.
What I just described is a business, I know.  That’s how it works, and it is something we understand as athletes entering into the system, as (expletive) up as it is.  For many people entering that system, it’s better than what life has to offer elsewhere.  So they take it. 
But having been on the outside now, to witness this disgusting display of “support,” I know that I want no (expletive) part of it.  I will never attend a Ducks game as a spectator again.  I am disgusted by Ducks fans and I will sit back and observe from afar with high hopes for the players’ success and understanding of their sacrifice, without having to hear the spoiled woes of ignorant fans.
I will love the Ducks: my coaches, my teammates, my brothers and family.  The rest….Go (expletive) yourselves.”
     As one can see, this individual, as he is about to step off into his future, is bitter and angry about the psychological abuse he has tolerated.  Consequently, for all the ferocity of his parting shot at the Ducks’fans, they are a group that will never recognize him outside of a Ducks football jersey.   The days of adulation, jeers and glory are past for him now.   In parting, there is anger.  What will tomorrow bring for him?
Story #2 comes from the AARP Home Blog (10/30/13).
     This is a story we have heard too many times.  It tells of a professional athlete following both his moments of glory leaving the sport, falling into darkness and paying a heavy price for the fall.  Yet, the outcome or “decision” at the crossroad is different from similar stories.  It follows:
Sunoco “Stamp” Williams, who died July 8 at age 64 while taking a walk near his home, earned All-American honors at the University of Minnesota in 1967 and then went to play 12 seasons (and in three Super Bowls) as an offensive lineman in the NFL, first for the Baltimore Colts and then for the Los Angeles Rams.
All that time, Williams had another ambition: becoming a dentist.  He spent his off-seasons as a part-time dentistry student, and eventually earned a doctorate in 1978 from the University of Maryland.  When he retired from football after the 1980 season, he moved back to Minneapolis and launched a dental practice.
But Dr. Williams’ second act unexpectedly took a disastrous turn.  He began using cocaine, and was indicated for selling a small amount of the drug to a college friend who turned out to be a federal informant.  He ended up pleading guilty and served seven months in a federal prison.  ‘When something like that happens… it makes you re-examine yourself,’ he explained in a 2002 interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  ‘You have to go deep inside yourself and deal with things you don’t want to deal with.  You have to be honest with yourself.’  After his release, Dr. Williams totally rebuilt his life, not only resuming his dental practice, but becoming an exemplary citizen.  He joined a group that visited prison inmates to assist in their rehabilitation, and he became active in organizations working to revitalize Minneapolis.  In 1992, the city honored him as volunteer of the year.  In 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, Williams rushed to New York to serve on a seven-man forensic dentistry team that helped identify the bodies of the terror victims.
     Regretfully, this powerful and remarkable story concludes with a reviewer or reader sending in the following question:
“How did he keep his dental license as a convicted felon?”
Both stories are powerful and insightful.
     In story #1, the future has not been written for the former Duck football athlete.  He appears driven by anger.  It is likely that a few fans will take the opportunity to be insightful about what is being stated, while others may simply view him as being ungrateful, who got a four year athletic scholarship and now is whining about how he was “unfairly treated.”
In story #2, Dr. Williams’ life has come full circle.  His story has been written and hopefully many, excluding a few (i.e. “How did he keep his dental license as a convicted felon?”) will benefit from what he was able to achieve.
    
There is much we can learn in both stories if we allow ourselves the opportunity.   As one stands at the “Crossroads,” one can light the beacon that illuminates the path that has been chosen.
The beacon “Doing the RITE Thing” contains the following illuminations:
  • R    Recognize the behavior or action that creates or reinforces the pain/emotional wound.
  • I     Identify the behavioral change that will alleviate or respond to the pain/emotional wound.
  • T    Transform it; walk/work in the direction, allowing yourself to fully experience the emotional response.
  • E    Empower the self.  Do this for “me” and no one else.  Reinforce “me.”
     In closing, as the individual stands at the “Crossroads,” it is for that person to recognize that they have choices in which how they choose to walk the journey.  One can either hold on to the bitter fruits of the past and in doing so, allow this cancer to consume from within, or one can choose to “let go” and in doing so, seek to experience a challenging and constructive life.
“The end of one journey is the beginning of another.”
“The choice is ours.  We can continue doing the same old thing, traveling the same road.  Or we can do something new, something different… on the path less traveled.”
The journey continues……