Fire Tested

People say that I am amazing—strong beyond my years.  I am not, but that word is used to define me often.  It comes down to character and the realization that no matter how I reacted it wasn’t going to change the death of my Phil.  My father used to talk to me about having character.  I would roll my eyes (inwardly because I knew not to show him my teen antics) and wince as he harped on integrity, doing the right thing, and faith.  Strength is fire tested.  The day Phil was killed; I was thrown into a raging inferno of which there was no escape.  There were two choices.  The first was to live my days broken, stuck, and angry.  The second choice was to figure a way to endure the flames that had consumed me.

I have to admit, though, it was easier to be angry and to play the blame game.  It felt right to sit in my angry stupor reliving the past and pointing fingers.  Even my faith didn’t always escape my darkness because how could God not have intervened.  Surely he had heard my prayers and the prayers of many.  Surely God could have stopped the evil that rained down that day.  While it felt easier to stay cowered on the floor and it the haze of complete devastation, something sparked.

That day of reckoning came fairly early.  As I stared at my husband’s  broken body, I recognized that the anger and the hate were consuming everything:  my thoughts, my sleep, my actions.  In that simple recognition I saw a woman no better than Phil’s assassin.  I chose to relinquish those resentments and the real estate that it was taking in my heart.  Some days I had to fight for it more than other days, but I simply decided that the assassin wasn’t getting my life too.  I choose to find a way to live, love, laugh, and remember.

Fire has given me power because I am simply not relinquishing my breath and my limited days to wishing for something that cannot be.  Do I have hard days? You bet.  The fire still blazes, but in the choice to meld into the flames, I have become a person of character.  As my father lectured, “suffering produces endurance; endurance produces character; and character produces hope.”  Hope does not put us to shame. Character….yes, I have it….and yes, I have hope which has allowed me to shift my paradigms from anger, resentment, and wishing for what I cannot have to being thankful for the time I did have.  That slight shift has brought me here to the woman who stands slightly bent, but not broken.  This woman is living life and is filled with hope for an unseen future that goes far beyond the number of breaths I will breath.v

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