On January 18, 2011 I heard a frantic, horrified mother tell me her son was found in a Franklin County Jail cell hanging from a bed sheet with no pulse. As if held underwater with the events of my entire life on hyper fast forward, gasping for breath I found myself asking...how did we end up here? How is this possible? Although we had recently separated, this person was my husband of 14 years. This person was the father of my two children. This person was a respectable member in our community with a multitude of friends. This person was a city firefighter. This person also made the choice to take a drug called spice which altered his mental state to the point he became another person. Thrust into a psychosis that lasted nearly two weeks, until his death. He was 34 years young. The past ten years have dealt me many additional unfortunate circumstances. Some caused by my own foolish choices, some caused by forces outside my control. I have grown and learned more about myself, life and the world around me more from this experience than I have my entire life. Of all I have learned from these horrific tragedies, one thing sticks out more clearly than anything. It's this false perception that the choices we make each day don't matter or don't add up to where we are today.
We are forced to make them every day. Some small, some great. There are some that could change the course of our existence yet we spend little or no time at all pondering these.
Take a look at your life...your present situation. The people, the home, the job, your attitude about life, yourself, and others...it all is a product of multiple choices you've made. It didn't “just happen.” Of course there are circumstances outside our control but we get to choose how we allow it to operate in our lives. I am where I am today because of what I chose to make of my situation. And this is a daily choice! I fail at times...I'm human. But I realize now as I would never have before that each daily thought, action, or choice I make will produce a result; it may not be today but maybe five years from now.
Am I choosing the right kind of friends?
Am I entertaining the right kind of thoughts?
Am I having negative self-talk?
Am I drinking too much?
All this I can choose! The tragedies in my life I couldn’t control but I take pride and ownership of what I can control.
My reaction to the devastation.
My attitude towards others.
What I can turn positive in the face of agonizing suffering.
It‘s taking personal responsibility for every aspect of my life and not blaming anyone. I have no one to blame but myself for what I have or where I’m at. It’s empowering.
Life isn't easy. People will hurt you. Circumstances will happen. Pain will show up at your door. But it's what you CHOOSE to do, to be, to act, to live, to love, to give, to make a difference in this world that counts.
The uncontrollable events of our past isn't what counts. It’s what we choose to make of it that does! The events in our lives definitely make us who we are...who we CHOOSE to be because of it! You can choose to let it break you or let it build you into a better, kinder, less judgmental and more loving and forgiving human being.