I remember the first time I was shot at. I was walking back from a US Military Dining Faucility in Iraq, when a rocket propelled grenade impacted a parked truck less than a hundered yards from where I stood. That was the first time in my life that I remember thinking, “someone wants to kill me.” Someone actually wanted me dead. What would make someone want to kill someone they have never met? I couldn’t understand this.
When I returned to the United States I struggled for answers. Could people be born inherently bad? I had always been raised to believe that there was something good in everyone. I remember watching “Boy’s Town” with Spencer Tracy where he says, “There’s no such thing as a bad boy.” That felt true.
How can people murder, rape, steal, and destroy their whole lives and have some good somewhere inside them? Instead of looking to the world for answers, I looked inward. I had returned from Iraq to divorce, excommunication from my church, complete ruin (in my mind). Afer a year of counseling and therapy I changed dramatically. I used to ask people if I had really changed. Therapy can change you slowly. Sometimes it’s hard to notice. “Remember when you were upset yesterday?” came one reply, “Yes,” I said, “times that by 100.”
While I wasn’t launching grenades at complete strangers, I still had my problems, and I couldn’t deny that I felt more in-tune with my true self when I was working to overcome my imperfections.
Preparing for the birth of my first child I had another awakening experiance. I had been invited to watch several birthing movies where I saw mothers giving birth in the united states and other countries. Some of the movies explained how the conitions of a babies birth, complications, location, and situations all played into the babies experiance as a child, and later as an adult. All this caused me to think. If an experiance in Iraq could effect me as a soldier, and a traumatic birth could effect anyone as a human being. Are we all inherently good somewhere deep inside and just going through difficult circumstances?
I believe that people come into this world good. I believe that circumstances bring out the bad at times. I also believe that we can always return to the good. It is always there, lurking in our subconsious. If we tap into it, it can guide our lives in the right direction.
There’s no such thing as a bad person.
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