4th of July 2015

4th of JulyThis is an important date for us all. The world seems to be falling apart around us as times are tough all over the world, but the United States still stands for freedom for so many around the world.

Here are the words inscribed on the Liberty Bell: Leviticus 25:10 and it reads,

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.”

I have learned so much in the past two years. As I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer I a couple of years back, I was forced to think clearly about my life, what it has meant and what it could still mean.

Looking back I was ready to see my failures and deal with my regrets only to find that I had more blessings than I thought. I thought I was picked on in school, but I was building character and learning how to deal with how tough and sometimes ugly people can be.

I thought that the trouble I had in school with ADHD and other issues was a curse to remind me what a loser I was, but it was the kick I needed to prove to myself I could do whatever I set my mind to and although I am really bad at math, I became a math tutor in electronics engineering school and made it through. I do have to admit that my teaching did not stay with me and I still suck at math, but I got my degree and worked in the tech fields I wanted to.

I thought that my sucking at learning the guitar was all about my lack of talent. Instead I found out as I was forced to join a band and play publicly, that I did not suck at guitar as much as I was too wrapped up in getting high and partying to really devote the time to playing. Being on stage made me a much better player as I had to practice so I didn’t look like a complete fool onstage.

Learning that I was lazy and just wanted to party made me want to stop partying and start getting serious about my future. This pulled me out of a serious depression and lead me to do some wonderful things in my life for myself and a few others.

I thought my abuse and misuse of drugs in my youth was a weakness that would devour me, but instead it helped me find my weakest self and it empowered me to find my stronger self and armed me with the insight and the courage to help others going down similar paths. I am not perfect, but I am stronger and more courageous that I ever thought I was.

I met people I looked up to and then saw some of them fall and I thought what chance do I have if that person fell, but what I learned is that no one is immune to tragedy or to failure and that failure is what leads to success. So I learned that I am no less or more a success or failure than I believe I am or allow myself to be.

I thought that my diagnosis would send me into a deep depression, but found that it not send me into a why me; pity party mess, but instead I ended up being around other patients that were in much worse shape than me. I looked at the world and what was going on overseas and saw that so many people and their families are in such a worse place than me. I live in southern California for gosh sake. Not so tough a place to be.

No I had to find the place in myself where I allow myself the knowledge that life is full of tragedy, but from our greatest tragedies come our most incredible gifts. I know that I have to acknowledge the dark and fear, but that I have to focus on the gifts in the darkness. I know that I have to find the blessings in all things and be grateful everyday for my life has been so truly blessed.

I thought that I couldn’t help others until I learned how to help myself, but instead I learned that helping others and putting others ahead of myself, without expectation of a return, opened me up to see the good in others and to be more grateful for what I had.

Take this time to remember everyone that gave or fought for our freedoms and also take a moment to remember what this freedom has made you grateful for. Is it our children growing up with fresh water, food, free education, the freedom to say and think what they want? Is it the fact that they live in a country that has the ability to help other countries and people also try and attain the gifts of free will.

I was in the Navy so I could grow up, see the world and get my college paid for, but instead I got the chance to meet with a group of people that were there for each other, brothers helping brothers all to protect us and others around the world from tyranny and slavery. I am proud of my time in the military and even more proud of the men I served with.

5 responses to “4th of July 2015

  1. Glenn Landrum

    Thanks for note and msg you sent. I thank you for your service and applause you for decisions you have made through the years and the ordeals you have overcome.

    Semper Fidelis
    Glenn Landrum
    USMC retired

  2. I am also a Navy Vet. Saw the Far East. Happy Independence Day, JW. 🙂

  3. Your words and courage are most uplifting and inspiring. They are certainly inroads to the strengths that we all could better ourselves in this time that grows more complex quickly with the warring factions and tragedies we encounter.
    Thank You for sharing your life’s lessons that we can all grow by learning.

    • Thanks Jon, I have to say I feel pretty blessed and don’t feel that my hardships are as bad as some others have by any stretch of the imagination. What keeps me from asking why me is the fact that so many others out there have it so much rougher than I. I am truly blessed, but if anything I have have learned in this life can help another then I am ready to serve.

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