Keeping things in perspective

Occasionally, we all need a quick shot of perspective to remind us that life really isn’t as bad as it could be. For me, that came yesterday, when I met Joe D’Ambrosio.

Joe, from Ohio, was speaking at the autumn conference of LifeLines, about his experience of spending 22 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. He was finally exonerated and released in 2010, and his lack of resentment and anger against the people who put him in prison – and still believe him to be guilty – is amazing.

With Joe was Father Neil Kookoothe, a priest who’s also a qualified lawyer and nurse, who agreed to help Joe prove his innocence when nobody else would. Not surprisingly, the two men are incredibly close friends, and although they make quite the comedy double act, it’s obvious how much they mean to each other.

If Neil had refused to help Joe, it’s likely he wouldn’t be alive today, and almost certainly wouldn’t be free, and this, more than anything I heard yesterday, really made me think. I hope I’ll never be in a position where someone needs that kind of decision from me – but if I am, I hope I’ll make the right choice.

In case that’s a bit serious for anyone, in other news, this week I got accepted as a blogger for a theatre website. Hurrah!

Joe D'Ambrosio and Father Neil Kookoothe
Joe D’Ambrosio (sitting) and Father Neil Kookoothe (at the lectern)
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