These good folk made no excuses as to who they were and the circumstances that brought them together. While many of them had separated themselves from their worst, they held on to it and readily owned up to their past. They admitted publicly within earshot of anyone who listened, their failures, misdeeds and ultimate triumphs. They embraced the famous idiom, "There but for the grace of God go I” and lived close to it with the reality that one misstep could throw them back into 'that life.'
And so, they assembled as a group to support, celebrate and encourage everyone in attendance. I found the time I spent with my new group of friends encouraging, invigorating and enlightening. Their stories and their insistences on taking personal responsibility are lessons that we can all learn and embrace in our every day lives.
I believe everyone can use a dose of this “no excuses” attitude. I know I can. I work hard every day to improve. But every now and then I find myself pointing the finger or trying to place the blame on someone or something else. But when I do, a very close friend is there to remind me to “Own up to it, Babe”.
And with that, I point inwardly, not outwardly.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gait,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley