| | Dr. Doug Dortch
Some years ago, around the time I was born, the movie “Bridge on the River Kwai” garnered the Academy Award for Best Picture. I remember seeing in on television late one night during my college years. Those of you who have seen it remember it as a riveting depiction of a group of British prisoners of war who have been ordered by their Japanese captors to construct a railroad bridge for the Japanese cause. The senior British officer thought that working on the bridge would be good for his men’s sagging morale; it would give them a sense of purpose. So, they built the bridge. They built it well. They built it so well that when the Allied forces began closing in on that part of enemy territory, they had to organize a special expedition to blow the bridge up. But when the senior officer sees what is happening to his bridge, he is outraged. His first thought is, “How dare they do such a thing?” But then, when he realizes the surge of angry emotion that has just come over him when the enemy’s bridge his men and he have built has been blown up, there is this moment when the officer buries his face in his hands and cries out to the heavens, “What have I done?” “What have I done?” The officer realizes that he had become so busy in succeeding in his enterprise that he had totally lost all sense of the bridge’s larger meaning and its value to the enemy. “What have I done?” “What have I done?”
All of us are familiar with the “blame game.” It is, quite frankly, a game at which all of us excel. Projecting the responsibility for our wrongdoing is an ability with which we seem to be hard-wired, simply because it comes so very easily for us. Owing up to our part in what is sideways in our lives is indeed one of life’s greatest struggles.
Growing up in a retail family, I learned early on that few things in life come previously assembled. Indeed, I spent most of my adolescent years piecing together everything from bicycles to barbecue grills. In fact, I have often wished I had a dollar for all of the contraptions I assembled during my adolescent years. Without question, I’d be a rich man today.