INSTALLMENT 1: SACRIFICE
My wife, Becky, was six months pregnant with our first son (fourth child) when I left my last combat deployment. The plan was to come home for the birth and then go back to work, but sometimes plans change. Days before I was to return home for the birth of my son, my Special Forces (SF) team faced a major setback when one of our vehicles hit an improvised explosive device (IED) returning to our base after an intense mission and fire fight. Everyone in the vehicle survived, but the injuries sustained by our men would not allow them to operate for the remainder of that deployment. The team went from 11 SF Operators down to 8 in the blink of an eye.
After seeing our vehicle blown up and assessing the damage to my teammates at the blast site, I made an instant decision to forgo returning home for the birth of my son who was due in a few weeks, the lives of my teammates depended on it. Becky and my children were safe. They were cared and provided for. They had shelter. They had running water. Air-conditioning. Indoor plumbing. Refrigeration. Hospitals nearby. No threat of imminent danger. In our position, we had none of the above. I knew my soon-to-be-born son would appreciate that decision once he was old enough to comprehend it.
Life constantly presents us with choices. It’s the space between circumstance and response where our battles are won and lost. Understanding the things in our lives that are worth sacrificing for provides a sense of purpose, meaning, and responsibility. Discovering our purpose allows us to better measure our focus and actions in pursuit of our goals.
The question we must ask ourselves is, “are the things we’re placing our focus on getting us closer to fulfilling our purpose or taking us further away?” If our thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships are not in alignment with our purpose it’s time to pause and reflect. Defining the principles, ideals, and values that are most important to us gives us ready-made answers to the many question’s life presents us with. We’re either getting closer or further away from fulfilling our purpose, there is no middle ground. The choice is ours and ours alone, it is the birthplace of personal responsibility.
The things in life that are worth sacrificing for are never easy, if they were everybody would do it. The right sacrifices can provide us a meaning that allows us to become greater than our individual circumstance. What in your life is worth sacrificing for? If you can’t answer that question, I challenge you to use the principles presented and commit to discovering the answer. A life of purpose and meaning is yours for the making.
More details appear in TALES FROM THE BLAST FACTORY: A Brain Injured Special Forces Green Beret’s Journey Back From The Brink. These lessons were paid for in blood, it is my honor to give them to you. What I once thought was the worst thing in my life is now one of the best things in my life, it can be the same for you.