Choices, yes, we all have them. Some are easy to make, some, not so much. The man in the artwork for this post sent me the picture just this week. Accompanied by the pic was a text that read "I just finished my first 25 minute workout since my surgery." Why is this relevant to choices? Because the road before that pic was full of choices that he made...oh, and yes, completely unavoidable and unexpected traumatic events that he had no choice in as well. Let me tell you a story...
Several years back, I get a call telling me that one of our Warriors had been injured. That day is when I met Landon Sias. Very long story short, that day began a series of two things...
1. Situations that were totally out of his control.
2. Choices that he could make.
When faced with surgery after surgery after surgery to try to repair his crushed foot, what seemed as if it was a no-win situation was actually a series of small, under-the-radar choices that he had to make day in and day out. Sometimes, that choice was to take pain medication. Sometimes, it was to just get out of bed. Sometimes it was looking at the next step he had to take. Sometimes, it was just choosing to live.
Let people in.
Have a second surgery.
Get a dog.
Ask for help.
Get out of the house.
Have a surgery.
Get this brace.
Let people in again cause you shut people out cause of how bad you feel.
Talk to someone about how I feel.
Take more pain meds.
Get fitted for that next brace because the first one didn't help.
Call someone when feeling down.
Have yet another surgery.
Move back home.
Have a surgery to amputate.
Cry some more.
Get out of bed.
Make the best of this.
Fight like hell.
You see, all of these, whether big or small, were choices that he made and will still have to make. He could not help the reality of his situation (and he still can't), yet, he had a choice in how he responded to it. Some of the choices seemed as if the only options were "the lesser of two evils" and, in those cases, he still made the choice. Even on the days where the only choice he had to make was survive or quit...he chose. On the unexplainable days where the pain temporarily subsided, he still made choices. Choices to share his story. Choices to process what was happening. All of these choices, and so many more, in the face of pure hell and constant pain, when he would have had every right to throw in the towel and sink deeper and deeper into darkness, these choices took something that started four years ago in a horrific way and turned it into a reason to celebrate today.
You see, his choices could not be made alone. He had to choose to live in the weird tension that exists when you're facing traumatic moments. That weird tension that says I need people around me yet I don't want anyone around me. That haunting reality that screams I am alone yet surrounded by people. That place that demands you opening up to people on the better days so that on the dark days they can press in. On the days where you don't want to chose or cant choose, they can help you. And on the days where you can, they can support you. And then, also, in the middle of your own situations, those same people helping you make choices somehow find themselves in need of your help when they have choices to make. They need your reminding that, if nothing more, just chose to survive today. Landon did. I can only speak for me. Yes, there were choices I helped him make and some I watched him make. And I don't even know if he knows it or not but there are a few choices in the past four years that he helped me make.
Even in the face of the unexpected and the situations where there seems to be nothing you can do, what choices can you make today? Simply...survive? Okay...good...admit it. We can work with that. Landon and I both know that choice. And for making the choice to do that, I am proud of you!