Two months ago, someone sent me the contact information to the Derek McConnell family. Just like every other family. I reached out to them to see if I could help in any way. I tried to answer every question as fast as possible in order to help them as much as possible. I have seriously been trying to meet them for weeks, but four of those weeks took my family to TN and that made it a little harder. Timing was not on our side until yesterday.
After rewarding the girls with a trip to Target yesterday, we returned to Bethesda and I had warned Chaz that if I did nothing else that day I was meeting this family. I wanted to give hugs and meet them instead of just chatting back and forth. I am so glad I made that goal for the day. What a great family! Siobhan and Krystina just feel like family. (We only met Derek as he drove by us after surgery.) Maybe it's because we know what the other is going through, I don't know, but I can tell you our families will be in touch from now on. I know we will all be great for each other.
Since we have begun this journey all I have ever wanted to do was reach out to others and say, it will be ok. Sometimes I get to do that and sometimes my hand gets smacked. This week I have had both happen I am so glad that I got my hand smacked first and met this awesome family second. Let me tell you what the difference is, it's anger and hope. You cannot heal until to deal with the anger and look for the hope. You have to lift your head up and see God's plan. You have to know in your heart you are suffering for a reason. You have to know you are not a victim, you are a victor. God will lead you through when you are ready. You will be lost if you continue to allow the anger to take you over. You have to deal with the anger head on instead of ignoring it.
The anger doesn't magically go away. The anger pops up every time you turn around. I wish the anger would go away, but I fear it only becomes manageable. I am still angry, and I will be for a very long time. I have damn good reasons to be angry. But I will not let that anger rule my life. If you let anger rule then you will be useless. You are controlled by a hateful emotion that will only lead you down the wrong road. I will not allow that to happen. I will not damn my family. I will look for every spark of hope I can find and I will multiple it to remind me what is important.
Life is so absolutely beautiful if you let it be. If you will look you find so many awesome people out there who have the same passion you have and want the same thing. If you let them help your family and help lift you up and celebrate life with you then this road becomes so much easier. God brings them straight to you. But you have to open your heart up and let them in.
We have been criticized that we are allowing people to use us to further their agendas. It has been said we are using our situation to get what ever we can out of it. If you truly think that then you are letting the anger and even your jealousy rule. We are just healing through hope. It truly is that simple.
If you look at the Team Allen page, you'll see we frequently post about the various non-profits out there. These non-profits are ran by amazing people who want to help all of our families heal. We are not the first family to receive from these organizations, we just liked to brag on them for what they are doing for our soldiers. If we don't talk about them, then you may never hear about them and that would truly be tragic. These amazing people need to be talked about and more importantly thanked for everything they do. If you'll go to their websites you'll see we are not the only family receiving their blessings. You'll see these people are so amazing and we are so blessed to know them. We are blessed that we can share their stories of caring with others.
Some of the things we have done are truly unique and I am so proud we've been able to do them. I can't explain why or how we get these opportunities. They seriously just keep popping up. God keeps dropping these incredible people into our little family's life and it is just incredible. I think people see that Chaz and I are truly happy (it's not an act, we're not that good at acting). They think that we are pretty cool (which I have to agree). They talk to us and see that we don't want anything from anyone, except to share our story of hope. Our hope is the spark that attracts people to us. Chaz and I are so thankful that he is still here with us. We are excited to continue living our lives together. People see us for who we are and then they want to hang out and sometimes even help us. You know what, that's ok!
There's nothing wrong with what we're doing. Do not lash out at us because you are not getting all the attention you feel you deserve. You want attention fine, go figure it out on your own time. Lashing out at Chaz and myself will not solve your problems. It might make you feel better for a little bit. But you seriously will not feel better until you look inside of yourself and see what you are truly angry about. Sometimes your jealousy and anger mix together thus causing additional confusion. Maybe you're jealous that we are further down the healing road. You may be jealous because Chaz's injuries aren't as bad as your warrior's. You may be jealous of all the blessings we are receiving. I have a news flash this is not a pissing contest, we are not dogs marking territory. So stop comparing!! If you are jealous, go figure out why and fix it!
My Granddaddy said jealousy is the most useless emotion. He said you'll jealous of someone's beauty, well stop that's how God made them. You're jealous of something they have, go get a job and earn the money to buy it. You're jealous that good fortune has found them, then get out into the world and do lots of good and the blessings will find you too. I have always used this point of reference in my life. I don't get jealous of very much. I have always made my own way. I have always had the drive to go and get it, so jealousy doesn't strike me very often. It did strike me when Chaz was injured. I realized I was jealous of the guys who only lost one leg, or that they lost their legs below the knee, instead of above. I was jealous of the people who could discharge before us. But I realized Chaz had the same problem. You know what, we talked about it every time it came up. We saw it, dealt with it and moved on together. I think that's what you have to do. I don't know how else you can do it. Then we realized there are other families who were jealous of Chaz's injuries and then there are families who are jealous because Chaz made it home. We have lost friends and helped wives heal from their passing. But I did not realize we were something to be jealous of until my friend brought it up. She helped me put it all in perspective to me. We all have things to be jealous of, but we have to focus on what we need to be thankful for instead.
We cannot change our soldiers' injuries. We have to deal with what we are given and celebrate that we still have them with us. This is the whole purpose of Alive Days. We celebrate the day the enemy tried to take them away. We celebrate the fact that we get to keep them. They may be altered and our lives are turned upside down, but the person we love is still here. From that love, you will find hope. I found my hope on January 22nd. First when Chaz survived, second when they saved his arm, third when he was cleared for travel, fourth when I heard his voice for the first time, fifth when he arrived back in the US, sixth when I got on the plane to get to him, seventh when I got to look into his eyes for the first time. I stopped counting after that. I realized that the hope was taken over everything else. I let the hope drown my anger. When that nasty anger bug comes back up I hit it with a big sledgehammer of hope.
This is how I am healing. This is how I am healing my family. I cannot tell you how to heal and I will not attack you for your choices. Everyone is different and we have to figure out what works for us. Searching for and celebrating the hope is what works for our family. But if I do not attack you for your choices, then please don't attack us for ours. I think the those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones saying applies here. You should know we are praying for you. Sadly until you see how God is trying to work in your life you will not be able to heal.
I will not stop reaching out to other families. Yesterday the McConnell family showed me that I should not stop. I will not let the voices of the angry and jealous and sometimes ignorant pull me down. I am a child of the most high God. He is walking with me and he has blessed me with so many angels who may not be with me physically but they are with me spiritually. I feel them guiding me and I know I am making them proud. I will continue sharing the blessings of these non-profits and the great people who keep coming into our lives. I am so proud of our family and I am proud of our journey. I know we are not done yet and I am truly excited to see what's next.