Consequences Last a Lifetime
Author’s Note: I debated for several days whether to write this blog, simply because the issue is so controversial….Please note that I’m not condoning or condemning either side here. But, I think it needs to be said that our choices carry consequences that can impact the rest of our life.
I seldom watch the news. I prefer to get my news updates by scanning the news app on my phone in a few short minutes every day. Enough to stay updated, but not enough to get mired down in negativity. However, one day this week I was running on the treadmill to escape the 90+ degree heat outside, and one of the T.V.s at the gym was turned to a news channel. The closed captioning feature was on, so even though I was listening to music, I couldn’t help but read what they were talking about.
More specifically, the 6 month sentence he received for his January 2015 assault on an unconscious, intoxicated woman. There are two, very divided, opinions on whether the sentence was appropriate or not. I’m not here to debate that. I’ve been a sexual abuse victim and it would be far too easy for me to say a 6 month jail sentence doesn’t even begin to balance the lifetime struggle that young woman will face in trying to heal.
What went through my mind as I watched the news debate, is that Brock Turner will also have a lifetime struggle in overcoming his past. His sentence doesn’t really stop at 6 months – he also faces a lifetime of consequence as a registered sex offender. Some people, including his father, feel that’s too harsh for “20 minutes” of bad decisions.
What I think we can all learn from here, is that both of those young people will face a lifetime of consequences for their actions in January 2015.
“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
You see, we all can choose our actions. We have the freedom of choice – we choose choose what we do, how we act, what we say, and yes, even what we think. But, we can’t choose the consequences.
“Our choices today define us tomorrow.” ~Ria Story
There are always consequences. Whether we make good choices or poor choices, we will face consequences. Brock Turner is facing a lifetime of consequences for some poor choices, and so is that young lady. Some choices she made leading up to the assault probably could have been different. It doesn’t excuse the assault and I’m certainly not blaming her for being a victim, but I am saying that we all make decisions in life and we all face the consequences of those decisions.
It’s not always just. It’s not always fair. Life isn’t fair. It simply is a fact that our choices today will define us tomorrow. Good choices, big or small, won’t give you a perfect life, but they will create more positive things in your life than bad choices will. Bad choices can carry big consequences, sometimes lifetime consequences. We could argue that a lifetime of consequences isn’t fair for the decisions that either of those two young people made. We might even be right, but it doesn’t change the facts that they both have drastically altered lives after making some poor choices.
I have to say here, sometimes we suffer consequences of other’s poor choices as well as our own. Sometimes bad things happen that aren’t a result of our decisions, and when that happens, our choice is how we respond to it. A car wreck that leaves you injured might not be your fault, and in that case you must decide whether to be bitter at the person who is at fault, or determine to be better because of the adversity you face. Neither decision is going to be easy but one decision will leave you drinking bitterness for the rest of your life while the other one will allow you to heal emotionally as you heal physically.
So what’s the lesson? The Stanford University sex assault case is a good example of how seemingly insignificant decisions can lead us down a road that we don’t want to travel. Remember, it’s never too late to turn around and travel the road of good choices, but we will still pay the price of making bad ones.
Like many, Resilience and Leadership Expert Ria Story faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. She was forced to play the role of a wife and even shared with other men due to her father’s perversions. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Ria learned to not only survive but thrive. She now shares her story to inspire hope in others. Sign up for her blog at: www.BeyondBoundAndBroken.com