As the wife of a severely wounded soldier who only had 6 weeks in Iraq before being in a serious IED explosion, I am often asked the same question “Have you ever thought about what it would have been like if your husband had not been wounded?”
If you hadn’t had to stop your work? If the kids had not dealt with everything? If your husband had just come home at the end of the year with everyone else?
Even my children have asked me this….
I always reply with the same thing, “If I spend my time thinking about the what was or, what could have been, then I’m stuck in the past. I risk becoming angry, bitter or depressed. Mostly though, it will make me unhappy with the what is….. and there are always so many blessings in the what is.”
My one friend told me it sounded too “Pollyanna-ish” but I confess I don’t think this way because I am “good” or overly positive I think this way to protect myself. I did start out early on with the anger: why us? Why my husband? Why my family? Then, one day I heard that quiet whisper in my heart that said “Why not you? Why not your husband? Why not your family?” what makes us so much more valuable than any other person who goes to war…. The answer is nothing does. Every man and woman who serves is unique, special, as valuable as my husband or friend or relative.
When I found myself dwelling on the why us questions I found I became caught up in that. Anger can be some hard burning fuel for fighting the system, for surviving the event, for getting done what HAS to be done but over long periods of time it gets ugly. It twists your thinking, it takes over your good motives and it becomes physically and spiritually noticeable in everything you do. I don’t want to be an angry woman. I’m learning that anger is a fuel that will burn fast and bright but when it’s finished you are just left with an empty fuel container.
It seems when we focus on the here and now we can see what is really happening. I have a dear sweet friend who has been battling cancer for some time, she always tells us whether it’s a pretty flower or a perfect sunrise there is something beautiful in everything, you just have to look for it. I determined a few years ago I would look for it. Some days it is harder to find the beauty and blessing in my life; I’m not going to tell you I always feel good or happy. What I do feel, is that there is a divine hand guiding me and just because I cannot see it or feel it does not mean it isn’t there. That same hand puts in every one of my days something to be thankful for, some bright spot, some thing that makes me say, Wow! I am so very blessed!
I know that in times of great trial it’s very hard to find the good, and I am not saying it is a habit you will immediately master but honestly, it is a habit. That means it is something you have to do often and many times, consciously. In the end sometimes the ladder out of your rut is in your thinking. What your mind dwells on is what you’ll believe….