On Monday January 23, 2012 I had the privilege and honor of speaking to the Kenton County Republican Women’s Club. I am accustomed to public speaking and usually speak from notes. But recent events in my life caused me to make a departure from that routine and to speak from my heart.
The past few months have been particularly difficult for me and my wife. Yes, I know, if we all threw our troubles into a pile, once we saw what others were dealing with, we’d take our own, so no, I’m not saying this for sympathy. I tell you this because of my faith.
Over my 32 years of practicing law I have often been called upon to defend a young person who has been accused of a crime. While some lawyers might think this imposes upon them an obligation to “get the kid off,” I see it differently. I have always treated this as a chance to save a life.
I’ve been asked how I can represent some one if I know they are guilty. My answer is simple, I will do my best to defend their rights, but I will never defend their wrongs. Far too many young people see adversity as a burden. Too few see adversity as an opportunity. My job is to change that.
I tell them that instead of concluding that dejection is the only answer to the question “why me,” hope might be the better answer. I tell them that God has probably been giving them gentle nudges trying to get them back on the right path for a long time and they have been ignoring it. Now God has determined to really get their attention and is saying “I have plans for you; you are a valuable person” and instead of a nudge has just given them a hard shove in the back.
It’s their choice, I tell them, whether to view their circumstances as “poor old pitiful me” or to see an opportunity to accept responsibility for their actions, receive appropriate punishment and to use this time to seek a better path for the rest of their lives.
As many people who know me are aware, I was given this choice as a teenager myself. I was devastated by my error and had a very long time to pray and think. I learned a very hard lesson that has shaped the rest of my life. We are responsible not only for our own acts, but we are responsible for each other.
I said these things to the ladies on Monday as a prelude to my talk, to put things in perspective. You see, over the last couple of months things have been pretty tough.
First my trusted legal assistant of over 30 years was stricken with an illness, suffered the anguish and worries over deciding to have major surgery, and then underwent that surgery. She is doing very well, thank you, but it gave me great pause.
The week before Thanksgiving my mother-in-law suffered a massive stroke. Although she is 82, you would never have guessed her a day over 60. She is a beautiful woman, was very fit, very active, the picture of health. She will likely never walk again.
My wife and I are now, suddenly, devoted to her care. We spend a big part of everyday making her comfortable, dealing with the personal details of her life, making plans for extended care and trying to chart an uncertain future.
And then, as those of you who are my friends on Facebook know, this past weekend we had to put down my trusted friend and protector, our 11-year-old German Shepherd. She had lost the use of her rear legs and her bodily functions. She could not sleep because of pain. It was a terrible decision to make.
We brought her into the house Friday. My wife stayed up with her all night. Saturday morning was my shift. I held a 100 pound dog in my lap from dawn until 3 p.m. when with the gentle help our vet, we said our last goodbyes.
I shared all of this with the women who were so kind as to invite me to speak. Not for sympathy, but to set the stage for what I have come to believe is a looming battle in this world which is right in front of us, but which I fear we cannot see.
You will hear others describe what is going on in the nation right now as a battle between Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, Socialists and Capitalists, the 1% and the 99%, but it is none of those things. What we are facing is a battle of the greatest magnitude, a battle between nothing less than good and pure evil.
I will describe this in more detail in tomorrow’s column.
You see, out of the difficulties my wife and I have been facing, I have been searching for an inspiration. I learned a long time ago that we must find God’s purpose in everything, through the darkest moments in our lives even through what seems to be unrelenting despair.
My faith lifted me up when I felt I would never stand again, and I have leaned heavily upon it my entire life so I could stand for others to lean on me.
The inspiration I shared with the women on Monday, I will share with you tomorrow. It might frighten you, it may take you by surprise, but I need to tell you what could be coming, and then you need to tell everybody else.
Part II, tomorrow. Don’t miss it.
Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. He is a prolific and accomplished writer whose blog, BluegrassBulletin.com is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.” He writes a daily commentary for KyForward