How have you survived a tragedy? Have you chosen to put aside your pain and reach out to others, or have you been pointing fingers and driving yourself deeper in the ruts of self-pity?

            In my suspense/thriller THE POISON CUP, the protagonist, Pete Turner, has been blaming others for the course his life has taken, and when the story opens, he finds himself in a heap of trouble. 

            Three days of torrential rain and high winds throughout much of the state of Georgia had filled roadways with broken limbs and debris. In Grimly, the sheriff drew upon the occupants of his jail to clean up the mess. He referred to them as a work crew because chain gangs were now illegal in the United StatesApparently, he enjoyed lording it over his helpless victimsHe (Pete Turner) had spiraled down to this, a vagrant and a convict on a chain gang.  

            Pete blames his troubles on everyone but himself. If his daddy hadn’t met an untimely death, if Farley had never come to the farm, if his mother hadn’t allowed it, if his sister hadn’t died by Farley’s doing, Pete would still be as contented and carefree as he was as a boy living on the family farm.  

            Pete chooses to deal with his problems by wandering for ten years, nurturing his pain and carrying his anger like a keg of dynamite ready for the match.

            According to the Bible, blaming someone else for one’s unfortunate circumstances began in the most famous Garden with our earliest ancestors. After eating the forbidden fruit just before God expelled Adam and Eve from their beautiful home, Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed Eve. Speaking to God, Adam said, “It was the woman YOU gave me.”

            Blaming others for our problems may afford us some emotional satisfaction, but is it worth the consequences? It can become a pattern, an emotionally crippling crutch, a way to shift responsibility from ourselves?

            Sometimes I believe people blame others and get angry or depressed because they see no escape from their problems. They don’t believe it is possible to pick up the pieces of their lives and turn lemons into lemonade.

            The Bible says that all things are possible with God. Paul said in Philippians 4:13 (NKJV ), “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Maybe believing this helps some people pick up the pieces of their lives after a tragedy and do something positive.

             Candice Lightner chose to do something to help others after her thirteen-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. This California woman formed MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. According to Wikipedia the purpose of MADD is to stop drunk driving. The organization supports those affected by drunk drivers. They campaign against underage drinking and strive for stricter impaired driving policies.

            Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” implying that while we may not be able to erase the past, we have the power to shape the future if we have the courage and the will to do so.

            What is your story? How have you dealt with tragedy?

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