What To Do With The Bad Stuff

What Do You Do With Bad History?

I’m referring to bad times in something or someone’s history, not the history of it or them written or told badly. Bad times. Bad stuff. They are in the history of every person, every group, every organization and endeavor. What do you do with them?

A collection of people with whom I’m familiar went through bad times a few years ago. The bad times stretched back in some length, probably a decade or more. And recently, I’ve had a couple of folks tell me: “Dan, they’re no-good, so be careful.”

The situation has gotten me thinking—what do you do with bad history?

I’ll take a shot at part of an answer. Then, I’d like you to reflect about yourself, someone you know, or perhaps a group of which you’re knowledgeable—and what to do with the bad times they’ve had. I wonder if the responses of you and I will be very different.

First, I think you try to learn from mistakes, errors, and wrong actions, decisions, and choices. Learn not to repeat them. Learn where The River ran a particular way and could have been navigated differently, navigated better.

Second, unless the person or people are pure evil (and in my view, such does exist), it’s likely the bad will be mixed up with the good, either simultaneously or sequentially. You need to understand that the bad doesn’t obliterate or eliminate the good. To be sure, however, the good doesn’t excuse or justify the bad.

Third, and maybe I’ll show a little of my spirituality here, I think the following preface is in order: “There but for the grace of God go I.” You’re often not more than a few steps away from committing some of the same egregious mistakes that we see in others. Don’t assume superiority. There are continuous changes in you, me, them, us, and the times themselves. Today’s condemner is tomorrow’s condemned.

Finally, you push and you pull. The individual is at the bottom of it. The bad stuff was what it was because individual people did or didn’t do certain things, one thing at a time. Each of those moments involved someone pushing, someone pulling, and that someone was just like you. Every action counts. One person contributes to the good or the bad. And which did you do yesterday?