Lessons of a Painful Life

In December, multiple women alleged New York Governor of sexual harassment and or assault. The allegations varied between inappropriate comments, forced kissing and groping. For his part, Cuomo took issued a prerecorded video alleging no misconduct. Strangely, I can look at both Cuomo and the victims compassionately. This view is neither thinking in the light that Cuomo’s actions do not have some form of merit nor are justifiable. (Cuomo’s actions are indefensible). I also don’t take a strict form of religious interpretation by reiterating, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Instead, I look at Cuomo and say, “Cuomo is done. He cannot politically survive.”

Over the next month or so, Cuomo will become one of the most hated men in the U.S. He will be loathed, his persona, and everything about him will be scrutinized. Flaws are sure to be amplified, and any moments of greatness (should there be any) will be fused to an ocean bottom where predators lurked and devour unsuspecting prey. At a moment when New York State needs unifying leadership, the state faces a democratic crisis. Publicly, the state’s Democratic leadership stands convicted of gross incompetence. The other party is led by a 75-year old whose only two gifts are an ideology of hate and a perpetual “me, me, me.” attitude that remains drastically at odds with the majority of American voters. I cannot walk in either the victim’s or Cuomo’s paths. But anyone who hasn’t seriously blown it can understand the crossroads of “super sucks” and “F****d.” In April 2010, I stood where Cuomo is. I looked left. Then, I looked right. Neither path offered much hope.

Like Cuomo, what did me in was ‘power.’ I did not harass or sexually assault like Cuomo. However, I was unceremoniously fired via cell phone on God’s Friday, April 2010. Looking back, I thought of all the goals and plans I had for life. Like Cuomo, I was taught to be ambitious, taught I could do anything or become anything if I was willing to suffer through the pain. Like Cuomo, the definition within my goals contained enough truths to make them dangerous. I failed to understand limitations. 

Wikipedia provided a short history of Jerry Glanville’s now-infamous phrase “N.F.L. means ‘not for long.’” Glanville admonished N.F.L. back judge Jim Daopoulos for making what he felt were terrible calls during a game. Glanville’s exact quote was, “This isn’t college. You’re not at a homecoming. This is the N-F-L, which stands for ‘not for long’ when you make them fuckin’ calls.” (“Not For Long” referenced that Daopoulos was in his first year in the league, having previously worked in college football.) In a 2013 blog note, Because I Choose to Be, I recorded, “… I wronged him. And I know he suffered because it. No, he didn’t directly tell me about it [his pain], but I am positive I destroyed him. And secretly … I looked for reconciliation.” On Good Friday, April 2010, I was fired for gross negligence. I had become a ‘Not For Long’ statistic.

I am going to oversimplify something. While I believe Cuomo believes in God, that belief has been misconstrued. When this happens, one tends to become navigationally lost. In my case, I openly admit I considered ‘God’ as nothing more than an accessory for decades. God was neither something I started my day in mind, nor did I debate a growing list of ethically questionable behavior. I know God stated He would always protect me. (He did. He was always there.) He even kept me from jail. Yet, I still became an a**hole. Instead of love, I promoted selfishness and created my isolation. Personal moral failures and recklessness resulted in offering my immediate resignation (as opposed to being fired) via cell phone. Just as I resigned, so should Governor Cuomo.

To Cuomo’s benefit, he appears to have a large enough nest egg that he can buy a home in a remote area and await an onslaught of legal activity. But, just as I was shown the way, Cuomo will seek advice from other before him. Just as God had shown me how my actions disenfranchised and oppressed, Cuomo will need to accept the level of pain his actions caused. I cost several their lives (they lost spiritual hope and embraced a bitterness that probably smolders today). 

Neither Cuomo nor I must ever be labeled heroes. We’re not. The ‘hero’ label belongs to the victims, each of who risked vulnerability in their pursuit of wholeness and healing while coming forth to discuss their pain. Had their paradigm been to sign a non-disclosure agreement, hide, or “not falling apart,” they’d have stayed home, stayed bitter, and remained afraid. Instead, however, each victim latched onto a higher calling, one that embodied a bolder course and gave voice to those unprepared to defend themselves.

Rightfully, Cuomo must walk his own ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death.’ He too must list all he’s harmed and offer to make amends. The path will be long, and publicly, his time in office shall cease.

However, maybe he can become a better person. And isn’t that what God wants us all to become?



Categories: Do No Harm, Life Lessons

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