I Am Blessed

By RM Harshman, USMC (ret)

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 More often than not, when greeted by a family member, friend or even a polite stranger, we’re asked the same, simple question: “How are you?”

Such a simple question that, if answered honestly, is really complex. Our answers can depend on whether the day is cold or hot, short or long, easy-going or busy. They can also be affected by our moods — calm, hasty, emotional.

But for me? My response is always the same. I answer with a concise but sincere, “I’m blessed. Thank you.”

I was not always a positive-minded individual, but rather a pessimist waiting for the next bad encounter, feeling or action. I was stubborn, like most men in my community, and expected the best but prepared for the worst.

I suppose that came through training for my own individual readiness, whether it was through combat theater, education or my family at home. Even as I prepared and lead my Marines to be successful as individuals and as a unified fighting family, I would normally have taken two steps back to move one forward. Or at least that is how it seemed at the time.

I’m sure my brothers and sisters in service can relate, as well as their spouses and/or significant others. It was as if life gave us lemons by slicing them in half and squirting the juice in our eyes rather than having the opportunity to make lemonade. It at times felt as if there was no reason to work so hard if everything, absolutely everything, did not go correctly.

Walking down the sidewalks of life can be terrifying and rewarding. A new obstacle or experience awaits round every block and at every intersection. And who knows what they bring with them? Sadness? Happiness? Anger? Confusion?

How we handle these obstacles and experiences is the determining factor of either triumph or defeat. In other words, be proud of the personal effort put forth. The physical, mental, and emotional tolls through our daily strolls are what prepares us for what’s next.

The sadness will go away, but we are PREPARED for when it comes back. The happiness we hold on to may disappear, but we are PREPARED to recover it. The anger ignites inside is, but we are PREPARED to extinguish it. And the feeling of confusion reminds us that we have PREPARED to constantly educate ourselves both intellectually and spiritually.

I have come to the understanding that happiness, anger, sadness, and confusion are never a constant, but being blessed with life is. I live my life for my fallen brothers. I live my life for my wife and children. I live my life in PREPARATION for being blessed with one more day.

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