I was one of the more than seven million persons who was touched by the above video of convict Arthur Booth crying uncontrollably in a courtroom when he realized that his judge, Mindy Glazer, was his childhood classmate when both of them were innocent and had their full lives ahead of them. It was thirty five odd years before this emotionally unplanned or unwanted reunion but back in school, like any human being, they had the possibility of becoming anything they wanted.
One of the sad truths about life that came home to me as I read the background story of Arthur Booth and Mindy Glazer is that life does move on, whether or not one is prepared for the future. The schoolboy Arthur Booth was shown to be exceptionally gifted in Science and Mathematics. His family and friends recall that Arthur Booth wanted to grow up and become a neurosurgeon. Mindy Glazer’s ambition was to become a lawyer.
But only one of these two beautifully intelligent children was able to fulfil their life’s dreams.
What went wrong for Arthur Booth?
His personal love and desire for the thrill of gambling subtly led him to petty theft which ultimately coerced him into an addicted user of crack cocaine. Arthur Booth dropped out of school at age seventeen. He was in grade 11 or Form 4 as it is known in my part of the world.
The second life lesson I mournfully grasped from Arthur Booth’s life story is that success itself is not final just because you have had a good life which has positioned you to be a success. By that same token, the opposite is equally true. Because a person’s life began with poverty, “bad luck” or fewer opportunities than normal people, it does not mean that such persons are doomed to a life of failure.
People with good plans or dreams for their future must quickly recognize, identify and eliminate their specific life distractors which are meant to sabotage, derail and destroy their best laid plans and their very future.
Now at age 49, Arthur Booth has spent more than half his life in prison. In fact, though the judge was his friend in school, and sympathized with him, she had to follow the law and impose a $43 000 bond on “the best kid” she remembers from their days in school. Unfortunately, Arthur Booth’s family cannot afford to pay the bond and so, even as this post is being composed, Arthur Booth is still behind bars.
A third life lesson that Arthur Booth’s life story has brought home to me is the recollection of our spiritual heritage and truths. That is, God has created us with all good things necessary for our best successful life. From a wonderful planet to personal skills, we are all positioned by God to achieve a very good purpose. That purpose is made even more realistic and attainable when we accept the forgiveness, eternal life and empowerment found in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Lord and soon-to-be Judge.
However, God’s archenemy, Satan, contrives to present every life with seemingly tasty, harmless and innocent distractions. These are the agents of our demise and anti-future manipulators. It really is true that there is a way which seems right to a man but the end thereof are the ways of death. None of us will ever achieve our goals if we do not abandon our own desires for immediate fun and pleasure satisfaction.
The future is there for those who value it more than the present.
People who become failures often sacrifice their future so that they can enjoy themselves in the present. But successful people do the opposite. They sacrifice their present for their future. In other words, successful people accept present day inconvenience, hard work, even boredom and loneliness, so that their future will be filled with enjoyment because their dreams have come true.
A primary reason I started this blog was to establish a forerunner to the dream of being a published author. It’s now as I reflect that, by focusing on some pettifogging present day “needs”, I have been distracted in the pursuit of that particular dream. I thank Arthur Booth for serving as a timely wake up and re-evaluation for my own aspirations. So on the tenth anniversary of my mother’s death, I shall be launching my first published literary work.
People around the world have been wishing Arthur Booth well. They really hope he can turn his life around. One of the few good things about his imprisonment so far has been that he has been able to kick his addiction to cocaine. He now needs to rid his life of his gambling addictions. With God on the inside and good friends and family on the outside, Arthur Booth can still change.
We all can change.
Let’s all start today by recognizing simple actions and sacrifices we can and must make to make our inevitable future the one where the dreams in our hearts and minds can finally live in our days and nights. I hope you, too, will take away some inspirationally life-changing lessons from Arthur Booth’s life story.