My trip through darkness has taught me one thing, and that is this: I am not strong enough to deal with the stress of life by myself. My journey into darkness started in 2005 upon my return from Iraq, however, I was able to withstand most of it with minimal damage. That was until I returned to the United States at the very end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. I suppose it was at the start of ’09 that life decided it was through playing around. That is when the blows started landing one after another. My life quickly spun out of control and the destruction of said life was rapid.
“Follow your heart!”
This advice sounds good, right up to the moment that your heart has led you to the highest cliff it could find and shoved you off. That was my experience with it at least. I have wonderful daughters, and it is a deep pain that I have missed watching them grow into beautiful ladies. I have missed their first crush, their first date, God only knows how many father-daughter dances, and more. The darkness has taken so much from me. My memories are stained with my failings as a father. Of course, I have many good moments with my daughters that I remember. One moment of laughter is the first time I took them on the four-wheeler. I will always remember the squeal of laughter when we raced down the road. Then there is the time that my youngest daughter skunked all of us in fishing. However, that does not change the fact that I have not been there for them when they needed me the most.
If I could instill one thing in my daughters it would be this: “Whatever you decide to do, do it with all of your heart. Stay hungry, and don’t let the naysayers tell you what is possible. Never allow anyone dictate the terms of your life or success. Be strong, be bold and stand your ground.”
Finally, I would tell them to never be so busy that you don’t have time to spend with their Heavenly Father. When the storm winds blow, and the waves threaten to capsize your vessel, He is your port of safe harbor. Take His hand and allow Him to guide your life. We are limited in what we can accomplish, however, there is no limit to what you can accomplish through Him.