The Meaning of It All

© 2013 (all rights reserved)

An article from the December 2013 issue of THE STAR BEACON.

The Blame Game

Photo by Doug Elmore

You probably feared -- from the name of my column this month -- that I was going to bore you with politics. Well, don’t worry, I'm not.

      How many times in your life have you told somebody, "Don't blame me ..."? And how many times have you turned around and blamed someone else? The Blame Game is constantly in motion in our world ... and not just in politics.

      But I want to focus on a topic that all of us deal with at one time or another. Namely, our past. I have been at work on my new memoir, Stepping Forth: The Challenges of a Teen-Age Girl Coming of Age in the '60s.

      While reading through (and typing into the computer) my diary entries since 1966, I've had a closer look at myself and those people who were a part of my life back then. I've relived the problems I had growing up and have become reacquainted with halfway forgotten friends, relatives, classmates and teachers who made a difference in my life.

      We blame circumstances, other people, and historical events to excuse ourselves from not being that ideal person we hoped one day to be. Throughout my teen-age years, I insisted that I was going to be a veterinarian. Animals surrounded my life and nature was a big part of my desire to help God's creatures.

      I believed that if I worked really hard to get good grades, especially in science and math -- two subjects that were not my high points -- I would succeed at getting into vet school and have a life-long career with animals. That was my dream.

      So what happened? Why didn't I get my degree in veterinary medicine?

      I could come up with many excuses, the first being my grade-point average.

      I could blame the fact that I chose to marry my high school sweetheart and start a family instead of obtaining my D.V.M.

      I could even blame the dean of the veterinary college at Michigan State, when he discouraged me outright and told me that it was unlikely that I'd follow through with my chosen career if I got married.

      More blame! In my first years of high school, I was timid and shy. Some kids probably thought I was stuck up. It wasn't because I was unfriendly, nasty or egotistical. I had simply decided at the beginning of freshman year that glasses made me unattractive.

      In the halls between classes, kids and teachers would smile at me and say "hi," but I didn't see them until it was too late to respond. So I blamed my parents because they wouldn't buy me contact lenses. I blamed the kids in my high school for not catering to my personal needs when -- in reality -- I was the one to blame because I refused to wear my silly glasses.

      For the book, I selected those difficult years -- the ages of 13 to 21 -- to show the process of how we overcome self-imposed obstacles, how we mature physically, emotionally and spiritually.

      Blaming others for our shortcomings is something we all do, let's admit it. But actually, we create our own realities, our own situations, problems and crises. If someone does something to us that we don't like and we choose to blame them for it, we don't realize they are actually helping us.

      "You hired those people," numerologist Michael Brill once told his audience in a lecture I attended. I've always remembered that intriguing concept. Yes, we do … we "hire" them, or arrange with another soul (before our birth) to resolve a particular hardship in life, in order to overcome the problem and to grow from it in a spiritual sense.

      I blamed the teacher that picked on me in
Creative Writing class because I was the only sophomore in a classroom of juniors and seniors. He appeared to have no mercy where my dignity was concerned. Yet, now I look back fondly at that teacher who had quite an impact on my life and my writing career.

      Instead of becoming a vet, I went down the road toward being an author and got my degree in English. Halfway through my college career, I realized that I needed to abandon science and math in favor of subjects I excelled at and enjoyed. I have no regrets at this point in my life. And the lessons I learned along the way were not wasted ones.

      Working on my memoir has been therapeutic, enlightening and just plain fun to go back and find these "gems" that have brought that part of my life back into focus. There are people and incidents I had long forgotten. Family members who are no longer here are suddenly brought back to life and loved again -- now more than before.

      One of the best gifts you can give yourself -- and those who follow after you -- is a documentation of your life as you live it: a diary, a journal, or simply a logbook. One day it may turn into a treasure chest. At the very least it can serve as verification for things in your life that are noteworthy.

      From a metaphysical standpoint, we've been taught that the only important time is the "Now." It is futile to dwell on the past because that is over, and it is useless to worry about the future because it not here yet and is always subject to change.

      That may be true, but examining our past can help us understand why we are the way we are. When reviewing one's life from some point in the future, we have a much broader perspective. We are looking at ourselves in a wiser light and perhaps can resolve some issues that continued to plague us throughout our lives.

      I now accept the blame I once placed on others and transmute that blame into gratitude and love.





This page updated December 7, 2013


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