The question isn’t “Why?” but “How?”

bastard cradle

“You’re a bastard!”

Imagine beginning life as illegitimate.

Imagine beginning life as a failure, behind the 8-ball, in the gutter.

Imagine beginning life where people think you are a loser, trash, worthless.

bastard da vinciNow imagine in spite of your beginning you have a great life.

You invent, discover, create, write, or begin something.

You are known . . . forever in human history.

Here are a few famous bastards:

bastard hamiltonLeonardo da Vinci, son of a notary & peasant girl who also painted the Sistine Chapel

Thomas Paine, illegitimate son who wrote “Common Sense” spurring the American Revolution

Alexander Hamilton, “Founding Father” of the American Revolution, was a bastard

One you may not be aware of was the result of sex between a woman and her father-in-law.

In her day, in her culture, if the man she married, died, the brother was to take his place. The sibling’s seed would literally provide children for the woman, caring for her in her old age. Well, after the first two brothers died, the father’s last son was left. The father said, “No way am I giving her number three! Look what’s happened so far!” Honestly, from a human vantage point, you can’t blame the man.

bastard tamarAnd so the woman decided to act on her own.

Dressing up as a prostitute, she invites her father-in-law into her boudoir after a holiday celebration. The man was so drunk, he had no clue with whom he shared a bed. Without immediate cash, the man gives up his staff and signet ring (the VISA card of the day) as a down payment for the fleshly transaction.

The woman was denied the brother’s seed, so she took her father-in-law’s instead.

The man was Judah, patriarch of Israel. The woman, was Tamar, daughter-in-law of Judah. When Tamar began to show her pregnancy, Judah believed her to be a tramp. Until Tamar revealed the staff and ring, showing Judah to be the baby-daddy.

bastard jesusPerez was the result of the union. Perez was the great, great . . . great-grand-father of Jesus.

What will come of bad circumstances? We may never know.

But our names may go down in history.

How do we respond to situations beyond our control?

How do we come back from a total disaster?

How do we rectify the actions of others who have transgressed against us?

bastard ripplesThe choices we make are pebbles, thrown into life’s pond, rippling onto the shores of history.

The best question is NOT “Why did this awful thing beyond my control happen to me?”

The best question IS “How will I respond to a situation beyond my control?”

You might be a “bastard” simply because you’re not a nice person and you treat others terribly.

But you might be a “bastard” whose life began as illegitimate.

You might be a “bastard” because an awful situation was beyond your control.

You might be a “bastard” because someone may have turned your life upside down.

I may not be a Leonardo de Vinci, Thomas Paine, or Alexander Hamilton. But my name could ripple through the pages of history just like theirs.

Even though we are all “bastards.”

Mark joins hands with those who have suffered with situations beyond their control, forgiving those who have transgressed against them every day. Dr. Mark Eckel is president of The Comenius Institute.

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