Grace, Youth, and the Pain of Wisdom (and Raccoons)

Last night, I watched part of a 60 Minutes segment that profiled a Wisconsin program called The Restorative Justice Project and some of the people who have participated in it. I haven’t watched 60 Minutes in years. I used to watch it every Sunday. But for some reason it lost its appeal. Or I lost interest. At any rate, I watched it last night. I’m glad I did.

I was moved by victims of crimes—people who lost family members to murder, for example—forgiving the people who killed their loved ones. It doesn’t sound reasonable as I write the words, but it most definitely was when I heard them. People whose lives had been turned upside down—people who had become bitter and enraged—found some sense of peace when they realized the criminals who had hurt them so badly were humans, too. I don’t know that I could reach that point. I don’t know that I could forgive someone for such a horrific act. But I deeply admire people who can. And I admire people who acknowledge that hatred is a self-defeating emotion. I want to acknowledge that. Better still, I want to learn enough from that knowledge that my behavior changes. I don’t know that it will, though. I’ve tried before. It has never worked. Maybe it’s because of my fundamental flaws. I hate to think that, too.

Forgiveness is much more valuable to the one who forgives than to the one who is forgiven. That’s a lesson I learned years ago, but I hope it might finally have sunk in. Old age, more so than youth, tends to enable one’s brain to accept wisdom.


I fired the deck scraping/painting/repair contractor yesterday. By proxy. That is, his wife brought the paint and collected what I owed him. She apologized profusely and said she understood why I was so unhappy with him/them. But I don’t think she really understood. She didn’t seem to grasp how frustrating it has been for me to be told to expect them to show up by noon (or on Thursday)…and that time or that day passes without a phone call and without anyone showing up.

“I don’t like to set specific times to expect us because we never know how long a job might take us.” I told her I could not fathom how she could have even said that. She wanted me to give them another chance. I told her I had given them multiple chances and had asked them to let me know if they would be late or  would not make it; they never bothered to call or text, they just didn’t show. No more chances. She claimed her husband had given me receipts for extra sandpaper totaling almost $35. I told her I would pay the claimed $35, but he had given me only one receipt, from Walmart, for $7.95 for sandpaper. Though I now have to come up with an alternate way of getting the deck repair finished, I feel better knowing that I won’t have to build my schedule around people (at least those people) who won’t show up.

Maybe I can do the work myself, after all. I feel slightly stronger and have a little more stamina than I did when I hired them to do the job.

I find it somewhat odd that I am moved by the Restorative Justice Project, yet I can’t find it in myself to forgive the deck repair contractor. There’s something buried in my psyche that sees but does not fully respond to the irony in my conflicting emotions surrounding these two matters. What did I say a few minutes ago? “Forgiveness is much more valuable to the one who forgives than to the one who is forgiven.” Uh huh.


Elementor is software that, I was told, is much easier to use and is more versatile than the native WordPress editor. I tried it with this post. I did not like it. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know it well enough. At any rate, I tried it and decided to switch back to the WordPress editor. I may give it another shot, sometime soon. But not now. No, now it’s time to talk raccoons.

Because, you know, those damn raccoons! Yes, they’re here (they’ve probably never gone anywhere). And they took advantage of the fact that I left a single hummingbird feeder out last night. This morning, I noticed it was not hanging where it should have been. I walked out on the deck and looked over the edge. There, about 20 feet below me, was the hummingbird feeder, in pieces. I will retrieve it later today and will find out whether it is broken. It could be that the top and bottom, which come apart so the feeder can be filled, simply separated. We’ll see.

I did not see raccoons attack the feeder. But circumstantial evidence is enough to convict them of the crime. I am certain the feeder was not tossed to the ground by foxes or coyotes or turkeys. Bears did not climb up onto the deck, nor did bobcats or mountain lions or zebras. It was one or more raccoons. The bastards!

It’s a pain in the ass to have to bring in the hummingbird feeders every night. I really ought to figure out a way to make them inaccessible to raccoons, yet readily viewable, both to the birds and to us. Not bloody likely.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Grace, Youth, and the Pain of Wisdom (and Raccoons)

  1. I love the idea of restorative justice. We’re all just dreamers.

  2. Hope says:

    You made me laugh. We’re all incorrigible in our own ways.
    Thirty five years ago I sat on a local restorative justice committee of the John Howard Society. I think it’s such a great idea.

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