Journal Entry: David M Kruchten-09/08/2023-Motivations

Journal Entry

Weekly Journal – Motivations
Besides trying to be useful and productive, one struggle I continue to work through is my desire to atone for my actions or fix things for the people I’ve hurt and the damage I caused. This comes out in a variety of ways in regard to the victims, my family and society in general. I’ve gradually had to change my mindset to accept that this isn’t really possible in the naive way I originally thought. After I was arrested, I desperately thought there would be some way for me to do a bunch of community service, restorative justice and treatment to correct for what happened and try to make things right. I continue to believe that these types of things should carry a bigger emphasis in our criminal justice system, but I understand they are not going to replace the punishment part that comes with incarceration. I also have come to understand I will never be able to “fix things.” The betrayal my victims feel due to me exploiting their trust is not something they are going to get over just because I apologize and try to do some good deeds. That doesn’t mean I stop trying to turn my life around and earn forgiveness, but it just means I have to accept that I’ve hurt them in a way that can’t be undone.
When it comes to my family I also have a strong desire to fix things that might not be realistic. For my wife, when I see her constant daily struggles and stress, I want to come up with solutions that take away some of her burdens. It breaks my heart that she describes her life as treading water to get through the day because I want her to be thriving and happy. I see my children struggle and think of the things they are missing because of my absence. This should be my punishment and I hate it that they bear the brunt of so much of it when they did nothing wrong. My wife has had to become a single parent doing twice the work on half the income. So it is a struggle to accept that for the time being I can’t fix their problems. But once I accept that it becomes a little easier to try and do some things. While I can’t fix my wife’s problems, and many times I don’t think she wants me to try, I can try to support her by being there to listen, validate her feelings, let her vent and try to make sure she knows how appreciated she is. I can continue to create activities to engage my kids, call every night and make sure they know how much they are loved.
When it comes to society, again it’s that breach of trust that makes it impossible for me to fix things. I’ve always been a people pleaser and wanted people to like me, so accepting that I will forever carry the stigma of my crime, though deserved, is difficult. I understand many may never be able to trust me or my intentions going forward. I titled this post Motivation because even though what I do from this day forward can’t fix or change the past or the damage I’ve caused, the drive to atone will continue to be one of my motivators. It will define who I am.
I’ve had some deep conversations with people about the idea around good works (community service and helping others). The Bible teaches that it’s not good works that get you into heaven, it’s through faith alone. Your motivation for good should come from wanting to follow Christ’s example and live how he would want you to. I agree. Some of these people have taken things further arguing similarly that being motivated to do good works to atone for my crime is a similar trap. Especially since as I’ve mentioned, I won’t be able to make up for or fix what I did. I don’t disagree that if my only motivation was to get people to forgive me or get God’s forgiveness then it’s probably not the best idea. I’ve come to the conclusion, however, it’s not really about forgiveness. I believe God has already forgiven me, and individuals will make their own decisions and likely won’t be swayed because of a good act here or there.
So I think the more powerful motivation for me is to prove that I can be the person I want to be and to set a good example for my children. The original basis for my desire to dedicate myself to doing community service projects, making future plans around helping others, and the work I’m doing in here tutoring/teaching may have been atonement or forgiveness, but that motivation has kind of evolved. Now, instead of hoping to “fix things” I look at it as more of a motivation to be the person I strive to be and who God would want me to be. I also need to accept I won’t be perfect and I will still make errors. It’s going to be a process to get to where I want to be. Like I mentioned earlier, I hate the job I did in my allocution letter and my thinking and understanding of taking responsibility has evolved over time. Similarly, deciding how I can effectively make a difference will likely evolve. I need to continue listening to others and learning from past mistakes. In the end, I hope whether my motivation is perfect or still confused, that if the end result is trying each day to do good and help others, then I’ll be on a better path.