It's bigger than you...
It’s bigger than you…
I spent my youth as most young men I guess. I went out in search of love and adventure. I wanted excitement and danger and to live a life that would make others envious. I thought there must be a buried treasure somewhere or an island that awaited my discovery. That of course meant I must leave my family behind. But who cared really? We weren’t close. My father had taken off with a younger woman. My mother was living in denial. I had some sort of pseudo-relationship with my brothers and sister and there were a gaggle of family members I hadn’t spoken to in years. So really I couldn’t see that I was walking away from much.
I was destined to be a soldier. I was going to see the world and fight for freedom. I would win the fight of a lifetime battling great foes and ride off into the sunset with the beautiful maiden. Of this I was certain. Life didn’t see it that way however. I would instead get my first collapsed lung at 17 and be sidelined from the military for about the next 5 years.
In the meantime I would become homeless. I would spend time in jail and become an addict. I would meet the woman I was to call my wife and work jobs that would break most men. I worked construction, shoveled shit at a waste water treatment plant and drilled water wells in the cold Green Bay winters. It was a miserable life and I would do anything to save myself from more of this misery life had yet again cast upon me.
I finally did get my dream. I served honorably with the US Army 101st Airborne division in Iraq. I would suffer my second collapsed lung there. Lose my new bride to another man and come home to more of that same old misery.
I woke up one day and realized something. It was bigger than me. There was a greater good I must fight for. I must fight and work harder than any job or war or horrible employer I had ever encountered would demand of me. The pay off. A better world. A world where I didn’t have to be afraid. A world where my nieces had a chance at success and happiness even though they got a nut case for a father. A world where I didn’t have to worry that my sister, who I am now very close with, would call me crying again because yet another man would break her heart. A world where my nephews would be able to hold their heads up and work hard at the kinds of things that made the world a better place for everyone instead of shoveling shit in the South Mississippi summer heat. A world where my family would finally get the leader they so desperately needed. Most importantly a world where the next generation had a fighting chance. They could and would have a chance to make their lives and lives of everyone they encounter better. I realized I had been given the chance to create a legacy. I have been given the chance to make the world better long after I am gone from it. This is not unique to me. This is something we can all do and all must do together.
Because we are much stronger together than we will ever be alone.
We spend so much time and energy these days on ourselves. We tell ourselves that all our families and friends want is for us to be happy. We say all they want is for us to be happy and then we live this life in a way where all we do is worry. We worry about money and sickness and time we have wasted. I have had people say to me that they would die for their families. Really? You would die? What does that take but 3 seconds of bravery or stupidity? And how often is one put in the position that they must make this choice. I have been around the world and have known thousands of people and not one has ever told me a story like this. If we love them, if we really love them, I ask you; what better way to show them than to have the courage to live for them? To do the hard thing day after day month after month year after year. Any idiot can jump in front of a bullet. But what kind of man must it take to sacrifice his heart and soul for his loved ones? What kind of man would make every step he takes in life a purposeful step on the path that leads his family and friends to greatness. What kind of man must that be?