We are introduced to outlaw cowboy Joe Caswell in the year 1880 just as he is to be hanged for murder. As the noose tightens around his neck, he suddenly disappears and finds himself in the year 1960. Caswell has been transported to the future through a time machine created by Professor Manion. Manion, noticing the rope burn marks on Caswell’s neck and hearing Caswell’s confession of killing 20 men, realizes he brought to the future a less than desirable man. While attempting to send Caswell back to his own time, Caswell kills Manion. Caswell flees the laboratory and finds himself in a noisy street filled with cars, lights, and sounds he cannot comprehend. Overwhelmed, Caswell returns to Manion’s laboratory and begs the deceased professor to send him back to his own time.
While feeling helpless in the situation he himself has created, Caswell is met by thief Paul Johnson. The two begin to fight and Johnson wraps the curtain cord around Caswell’s neck and strangles him. With Caswell dead, Johnson begins his search of Manion’s safe. While looking around the laboratory, Johnson accidentally activates the time machine and sends himself back to 1880 where he takes the place of Caswell with the noose around his neck and he dies.
“The Execution” highlights the idea of second chances. Caswell is given the opportunity of a lifetime, to escape death and live a life in another time, where no one knows him, no one knows his crimes, and he can start anew. Does he look at his time travel as a gift to a fresh start? No, Caswell resorts to the only behavior he knows when dealing with what scares him, he murders people. Not the most effective or legal way to deal with stress or fear.
Very few of us get the opportunity of second chances, but when we do, what do we do with them? Often we don’t even recognize the second chance for what it is, therefore we don’t take advantage of it. We continue to keep on keeping on and doing what we always have done and get frustrated when nothing seems to change.
But what if when we are given a second chance, we recognize it for what it is, understand the the gift that it is, and devise a way to change the outcome. To recognize the second chance as a gift, we have to live in the moment. We cannot dwell on the past, what didn’t work, how we were wronged, how nothing goes our way, etc. We cannot live in the future, creating outcomes that haven’t happened yet. We have to live in the present. Living in the present and in the moment helps us identify what is going on around us and what causes a situation to occur. Living in the present allows us to be reflective and thoughtful in understanding the space we inhabit. Once we are able to see the gift of the second chance, we can move on to changing our behaviors.
The first step in changing our behaviors is understanding we have full control over our behavior. That is about all we have full control over in life. To take control of our behavior we also have to accept the responsibility for our actions. Once we realize we have the power to control our behavior, we can begin to take actions to course correcting our path. In order to change the direction of our path, we have to identify our old habits and behaviors that are not serving us. We need to remove bad influences in our lives, whether that be people, alcohol, drugs, coping mechanisms, beliefs, etc. and create a path forward that will take us in the right direction.
When we are able to be mindful and present, comprehend we control our actions and behaviors, and remove all bad influences, thoughts, and behaviors, we are well on our way to creating a life that we desire. It takes practice but it can be done. When we are in the process of changing our behaviors, it is always easier to slide into past behaviors because that is what we have been doing for so long. When you are trying to change a behavior we have to recognize when an old one is creeping back in, pause, change the behavior, and in turn, change course.
This does not happen overnight. It take time, patience, and practice, but you are worth it. Don’t let a second chance slip through your fingers because you weren’t paying attention, you didn’t think you deserved it, you didn’t want to take responsibility, or you didn’t want to change your behavior. Your life is moving in the direction that you set for yourself. Only you can change the direction.