Town drunk Al Denton is a shell of the man he used to be. At his prime, Denton was the fastest gunslinger in the West, taking on anyone brave enough to challenge him to a dual, until one day when that anyone was a 16 year old boy. Unable to come to grips with killing a child, Denton retreats into the bottle, hoping to forget.
It isn’t until Denton meets passing salesman, Henry Fate, who offers him a glimpse into the life he once lived. Putting a gun back into his hand and placing the odds in his favor, Fate, breaths new life into Denton. Word quickly spreads around town that Denton is back and within the day, someone is looking to challenge him in a dual. While making his way to the dual, Henry Fate once again makes an appearance and provides Denton with an elixir that insures its consumer a direct hit with his gun within 10 seconds of consumption. Feeling unsteady about his recent new found abilities, Denton takes Fate up on his offer. While waiting for the man to appear, Denton appears nervous and uncertain. The young man who has come to challenge Denton arrives and is ready to dual. Denton drinks the elixir and when he turns around, he sees that the other man also has the elixir. Both men draw their weapons and hit the other man’s hand. This action has stopped the two men from ever shooting a gun again. Denton walks up to his challenger and states “ You are just like me, you will never be able to fire a gun again in anger. You are blessed son, we both are.” Denton turns to the bar maid and states “he is lucky, he learned early.”
The story is about second chances and what one does with those chances. The belief is that second chances only come by once in a life time but that is not true. Every day is a second chance. Every day we are given a chance to be a better version of who we were yesterday, learn from our mistakes, mend relationships, and strengthen where we are weak. Some of us take that chance as a way to improve ourselves and some see those chances as an opportunity to be who they once were. Life is not about living in the past and trying to maintain who we once were. Life is about growth, change, improvement, challenge, struggle, success, and failure. It is through these things that we are able to become wiser, stronger, smarter, compassionate, empathic, and kind.
Like Al Denton, there are some of us who continue to live in the past either reliving past mistakes or trying to return to a time that once was. It is important to realize that the past has served its purpose, providing you lessons, on how to move forward and be better. It is living in the past that stops people from living in the present and being successful.The past is your foundation, it has already been laid, it cannot be changed, it cannot be altered, it can only be built upon. How will you see tomorrow? As a chance to be better? Or as a chance to reach back to a time that has past trying your hardest to grip onto something that is no longer there.
Lao Tzu stated “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the moment.”