For many years I have heard Eli talk about his “Why” when he plays sports. He learned of this,“Why” concept, after watching a motivational video featuring Kevin Durant. When he gets out on the track to run, the court to play ball, or behind the base the catch; he is never playing for himself. He is playing for Seth and his Coach Manny. He never plays without having their name either on his equipment or written on him. They are his “Why” when he leaves the track, court, or field he has left everything he has there because he isn’t playing just for him, his school, or to win he is playing to honor Seth and Manny.
I can’t remember what I was doing when the phone rang 10 years ago and told us that Seth had been injured in Iraq. I can tell you what the next hellish hours looked like, the waiting, the pacing, the constant MySpace messaging, Eric had been talking to him on MySpace just before he left to go on a patrol, he was never supposed to be on. We were told he would be okay, for some reason we thought that meant he would be on-line soon. I can tell you we started messaging soldiers on his friends list hoping they would have info but of course their end was silent. I can tell you that the phone call telling us he was no longer physically with us is etched into every cell of my body. From there everything enters a slow and painful memory on auto play.
I left it auto play for years. OVER AND OVER, STOP, REWIND, PLAY, GO BACK FURTHER, STOP, FURTHER BACK, SLOW, I MUST BE MISSING SOMETHING. When everything was said and done I had to know what happened. I have always researched, it is what I do but this became an obsession. I researched every detail of every soldier I could find online, I read every report I could get my hands on, every newspaper article. When that showed inconsistencies my obsession turned towards saving my own dying family. That meant uprooting us from everything we knew and moving us to Oregon.
Once settled in Oregon my obsession returned, Bush, Cheney, Halliburton, Rumsfeld. The more I read the more I knew, I had voted for this President and this war. I may not have put that bomb in the road that night but I had voted for Seth’s death years earlier. His death rested on ME. If I had researched before like I was doing now, Seth and his Battle Buddies might still be alive. There are no words for what this realization did to my heart, mind, body, and soul.
So I as I embraced my culpability and I entered my Cave of Atonement. I needed to do some self work, I needed to make sure that the parts of me that had lived life and ignored politics were healed. I needed to learn to love me, for now I hated myself to the very core of my being. I needed to unbecome everything I was if there was ever hope for me to become something Seth would be proud of.
This year I am ready, I am exiting my Cave of Atonement. I don’t think Seth hates me, I think he loves and forgives me. I don’t hate me, I love me and daily forgive myself. As I exit, I am made aware that this experience and the lessons learned while in the Cave of Atonement have left some beautiful scars. I am also aware that forgiveness comes with a price for me and that is Justice.
I am exiting as a Love Warrior. I am exiting with a “Why”. Seth is my “Why” I am my “Why”. I fight for him, I fight for the me, I use to be and for the me that is out there somewhere that will walk this path someday. I know the pain she will feel, I want to be able to help her navigate the Cave of Atonement and enter the world with Justice on her lips and knowing she too, is a Love Warrior.
On February 1st, I will be flying into Washington D.C. to attend Sister Giant, with Marianne Williamson and Derrick Harkins.
“The Conference will bring together an illuminating mix of progressive voices, gathering to consider the state of our country on both spiritual and political levels. We will incubate ideas and contribute to plans by which each of us, particularly now, can help move America in a more enlightened direction.”
I encourage you to go to http://sistergiant.com to learn more.
The first thing you will see if you go is this;
“WHAT IS SISTER GIANT?
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Politics should be sacred.” Sacred doesn’t necessarily mean religious – it means stemming from the deepest part of ourselves.”
I am going here so that I learn and bring back to my own community these lessons. Over the last few months I have started working with Unchained At Last, my behind the scenes work with veterans never stops and never will. I have a debt that I can never repay I have a “Why”.
As I exit my Cave of Atonement, and enter the Light of Love and Forgiveness that was always waiting for me, scriptures from my youth find their way into my day and night dreams.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
While I have technically been an adult for a very long time. That doesn’t mean that I thought or reasoned like one. That has now changed. For me this means that I am:
Fully Present, Radically Honest, Brave, Daring, Vulnerable, Informed, Battle Ready, Battle Buddy, Love Warrior!
Step One: Sister Giant
Step Two: When I am ready I will be told.
As my husband so eloquently said about Seth’s lesson to us:
You my sweet nephew, are my, “Why”.
I will speak your name,
I will share your story,
I won’t forget what I Own,
I will Never Surrender.
With you and our family, I have Totus Virium,
WE have Undivided Strength!
I would love for you to actually meet Sethers. Since, I know that this is not possible the next best thing I can offer you is a glimpse into his life through our eyes through pictures and music that reminds us of him.
If you don’t yet have your own “Why”, let Seth be your “Why”.