Sunday, August 16, 2009

Redemption: Second Chances

Last week I was listening to a fascinating interview on NPR featuring former Indianapolis Colts head coach, Tony Dungy. The subject of the discussion was about Michael Vick, former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons who was arrested, convicted and sentenced for dog fighting charges and inhumane treatment of animals. Dungy spoke of how he met Vick during an exhibition game some years ago between the Falcons and Colts in Japan, and how they might possibly get together for a fishing trip. The trip never materialized, but Dungy, who is now an ordained Minister, reflected on whether or not he might have had an influence on Vick had they had the chance to fish together and talk. In the flow of conversations, things would come up (perhaps dog fighting), and maybe Dungy could have expressed to him that it was wrong and maybe, just maybe, could have changed Vick’s course. As it stands now, Dungy and Vick have reconnected. Dungy had visited Vick in prison many times and they’ve become good friends. What was interesting is Dungy stated that Michael Vick wasn’t that different from other football players that he had coached. Also, that it was important to not be so cavalier about judging what Vick did. Yes the revelation of what he did was horrendous, but Vick, like so many others, was raised into a culture where this type of behavior was considered normal and acceptable. Bottom line is that Vick now seems to sincerely see the error of his ways and is trying to make amends for what he did. He has actually become a major spokesperson for the SPCA foundation and plans to make regular engagements and speeches on behalf of the organization. The most significant thing to me that Dungy said in his interview was that if he were still coaching, he would take that chance on Vick, extraordinary words coming from such a successful former NFL coach of the year. Now Vick has just signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and seems very humble for the newfound opportunity.

Another incredible story has to do with a gentleman by the name of R Dwayne Betts who at age 16 committed a car-jacking and later served nine years in prison, but through serious introspection and personal rehabilitation turned his life around and is now a very respected writer and author; his new book is entitled A Question of Freedom. Betts is another stellar example of redemption and second chances, and how Spirit has a way of providing for those who are ready and willing to make a major shift in their consciousness and a major change in their lives.

I make mention of these examples only to illustrate the importance of allowing redemption and second chances to occur, and why we often need to be very careful when sitting in judgment of others. From a Spiritual perspective, we must all be mindful that the course of our own lives has often been fraught with questionable decisions and consequences, resulting in opportunities for growth. While we must ultimately pay the price for karmic decisions that sometimes cause pain to ourselves and others, once that debt has been paid, one should be given an opportunity to create a life anew with a clean slate; grow and show that you are a better person as a result of this perilous journey.

As Soul, the ultimate redemptive second chance is death and rebirth through reincarnation. The slate is usually wiped clean and you are able to start fresh, with the veil of amnesia placed over the individual’s memory, but with a deep-set knowingness and wisdom imbedded within the individual as a result of the life lessons that they were able to pick up in the last life. Even beyond this, what is important is the fact that we must start viewing and seeing individuals through the eyes of Soul, that divine spark of God awareness that we all are. We are not our incarnational identity, but a part of the Divine itself. The goal in all of this is for each and every one of us to awaken and evolve in our own personal perspectives and outlooks towards ourselves and our fellow man/woman. Everyone deserves a chance to redeem themselves, but we often hold on to past misdeeds with an executioner’s mindset, where nothing a person does will matter because the taint is already there.

There will be many who will not forgive or support the decision that the Philadelphia Eagles have made toward Michael Vick. One can only hope that more individuals will give him a chance to prove himself worthy. More importantly, it is my sincere hope that people begin to take a more evolved perspective and understand we all have been on the hot seat at various times in our personal reincarnational experiences, but because of Divine providence, were given multiple chances to get things right. As Soul, it is time to look into every person’s eyes with the recognition that we are all Divine Sparks of God. Some of us are more awake than others, but in the final scheme of things we are all just as loved by All That Is.