In Life is a Miracle Wendell Berry says that in order to realize that life is an inexhaustible miracle, life must be lived within the thick particularities of “local land” and “local people.” In the midst of such a way of life, dying can be acknowledged, even if it remains a painful mystery. Amid such a way of life, we can learn that living and dying are not ours to control. That same lack of control, whether in dying or living, also enables us to discover and embrace the fullness of life and death. When we trust others in community, we discover the significance of giving our lives to others, and ultimately to the Other. In such a giving, there are often miracles.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).