Friday, December 02, 2011

My name is Earl

I watched the television show My Name Is Earl not long after its debut. I did so at the urging of some friends.  I enjoyed the oddball characters of Camden County but what I found most appealing about the show was the raison d'être of the show: Earl's list.

If you have not ever seen the show, Earl was an inept criminal who disappointed pretty much everyone in his life. And seemingly in retribution bad things would happen to him. The culmination of this was when he scratched off a winning lottery ticket, only to be hit by a car and lose the self-same ticket.

As he convalesced in the hospital, he was introduced to the concept of karma, which for our purposes I will distill into "What goes around comes around." And so he crafted a list of every person to whom he did wrong and vowed one by one to make amends for these wrongs. Once he did that, he miraculously found the lottery ticket again.

I compare Earl's list to what I have to do this weekend, which is make my own list of people to whom I need to make amends due to the effects of my ACoA behavior. I don't expect to get a winning lottery ticket out of it. I don't even expect a change of fortune. But I do expect to be be a better person for it and that will make my life better.

However, as the show demonstrated, making amends is a tricky business and truly sometimes it cannot be done without causing more harm that it alleviates. That said, it is worth the effort anyway, if for no other reason than it allows you to move forward in your life. And that alone is quite a gift.

Gene Chandler about another Earl, sort of.

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