We all have different ways of handling the catastrophic events that happen in our lives. I am very proud of the way our little family has chosen to handle all of this. Let me tell you flat out being blown up by an IED and everything that follows it sucks big time. Sorry but there's no better word for it. But you have to make the choice along the way to embrace the suck and foster your resiliency or foster your resentment. You choose your path, no one can do it for you. The anger that comes with all of this will eat through your soul if you let it. You are the one that controls it all. You just have to pick your battles and make sure you put the right blocks onto your foundation. What I have learned about all of this, is that one person can change their life with their words.
In the movie Iron Lady, Meryl Steep acting as Margaret Thatcher said, "Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become your habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become. My father always said that... and I think I am fine."
Throughout all of this, I never let the damning thoughts into my head. I believe you can control your future with your words. I have never said Chaz will never walk again, or other detrimental things like that. No I chose to say things like "We'll fake it til we make it" and sometimes I'll quote Pat from Train, "If you don't know the words, then just make sh!t up."
I have always spoken what I have wanted for our family. When we didn't know if Chaz was going to keep his right arm. I told God we need that arm and God heard me (as well as all the others praying for Chaz.) I said things like my husband will walk again, he will drive again, and our family will be happier than ever. I know I said our lives will never be the same, but that's one never that came with a positive connotation. We will never be the same, because we will be better than ever. I choose my words carefully because I know God is listening and God will make things happen with time. I knew Chaz wouldn't walk immediately but I knew he would walk. I don't know how I am going to get his house built, but I know God does. I don't have all the answers, but I know God will give them to me as I need them. I just have to keep walking in faith.
I have been through so many fires and storms before. I have seen hell and it was way before January 22, 2011. I am so thankful for all of those fires and storms because they helped me navigate through this one. Others have not had the blessings of the fires and storms, this is their first rodeo and they have no idea how to hold on. People say some really ignorant things when they are dealing with a traumatic event. I have to tell you my all time favorite is "You don't understand." And my other favorite comes when another injured family member tries to one up our situation by alluding to the fact they feel they have it so much worse.
This is not a contest of who has it worse. So stop competing, you won't win a medal. No we are all here thanks to something that went on in OEF, OIF or OND (Operation New Dawn, yes folks there's another one). I have said again and again you and I are here for the same reason. I truly hate that I have to have met you here, but we're here together so let's not compete, let's work together and heal. This is not a contest, so stop making it one.
Chaz and I choose the company we keep very carefully. We want positive uplifting influences around us and our girls. We don't want your pity party and we won't give you one and we don't want your can't do attitude. Life is awesome, not awful. We want faith, hope, love and can-dos in our lives. We have always treated "can't" like it's a curse word in our home. Our girls will tell you that you should say can't. Why? Because you can do anything, sometimes you just need help.
It is so easy to look at a situation like ours and feel defeated. But you are only as defeated as you let yourself be. Thank goodness I am so freaking stubborn. Thank goodness I will not accept defeat. Thank goodness I know I am a child of the most high God. I know if he is with me, no one can stand in my way. God has planted so many seeds in my heart throughout my life and he chose to begin harvesting them on January 22, 2011.
Someone asked me how can you be so happy as you deal with this. Well first I reminded them we won January 22, 2011. The enemy tried to take my husband and failed. Then that day I sat down and said gees this sucks and I cried to my best friend and I got it all out. Then I grieved for my husband's change in physical appearance. By the time I saw Chaz for the first time I knew I was ready.
I have to tell you knowing I was being judged by so many people pushed me to do the best I could. Knowing that our girls were following my lead caused me to make sure I was laying the right path. I am so thankful for the pressure of those who wanted me to fail and even more thankful for our two beautiful little girls who demand the best out of Chaz and I and they don't even know they are doing it.
When you are going through the storms and fires of life you cannot hold up your defensive walls at the same time. I am so thankful God has taught us this lesson because he showed Chaz and I who needs to be on our team. He helped us make an all-star team. Then slowly but surely God has helped us put concrete on that foundation we built with this team helping us. Now since our foundation is so strong we are able to help others build their foundation too.
What a blessing this journey has been! It has been hard and exhausting but I am eternally grateful for this crazy journey we have traveled. And now I am more than grateful that we can pay it forward.