Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life Lessons Learned In Tucson

Life Lessons Learned
This weekend I found myself glued to the TV. The shooting in Tucson, AZ hit close to home. Actually, it hit close to my best friend’s home. She lives in Tucson. She’s been in that parking lot. That’s her neighborhood. The gunman used to attend her daughter’s school. It hit really close to home.
I watched interview after interview and like most of America, I was looking for something good in the middle of one of the ugliest parts of humanity- the senseless taking of innocent lives. It didn’t take long to find some good.
One of my favorite interviews was that of a man named Bill Badger. Colonel Bill Badger, actually. Col Badger is a 74 year old retired Army Colonel who had retired and was living in beautiful Tucson. He (along with another man) is credited with tackling the 22 year old gunman and wrestling him to the ground before he had a chance to kill any more innocent people in that parking lot. In the interview he almost apologetically told the reporter that in all of his years in the Army, he never saw combat. He didn’t fight in Vietnam. He’d never been shot. But that day in the Safeway parking lot on Oracle Dr in Tucson, AZ Bill Badger became a hero. A bullet actually grazed the back of his head. And that 74 year old by-stander saved a number of lives. The reporter, along with most of America, credited his military training and the lessons he’s learned throughout his career as the motivation behind his heroic actions. He methodically stopped the gunman and brought him to the ground, just as he had been trained.
Another hero from the Tucson tragedy is Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords’ 20 year old intern, Daniel Hernandez. At the sound of fired shots, Hernandez ran into the line of fire to provide aide to those who had been hit. He checked on two other victims before approaching Congresswoman Giffords and treating her wounds. He picked her up off the ground, positioned her in a way that she could breathe, held her hand, talked to her, and applied pressure to her wounds while instructing others in the parking lot as to how to care for others that were wounded. He mentioned in the interview that he’d received some training during his senior year of high school for becoming a nursing aide but had decided to go another route. That training may have very well saved Gabriella Giffords’ life and the lives of others that day.
We never know when we’re going to be thrust into the middle of a situation that will require us to rely on lessons we’ve learned in the past. For Bill Badger it was an entire career of training. For Daniel Hernandez it was one semester… a semester that probably seemed wasted to him when he changed his career goals.
As a military wife, you may not understand what your purpose is. You may not understand why you’re at Ft Polk. You may not feel like you’re gaining anything valuable living in Alaska while your husband serves in Iraq. You may feel lost while your husband is out at sea and you’re living in a town where nobody knows your name. You can’t forget that God knows where you are. He placed you there. And He has a purpose for every circumstance in your life.
I can relate to that Colonel that humbly admitted to never having served in a combat zone. I often feel inadequate as an Army wife because I’ve never been through a deployment. My husband’s been through 3 but they were before we met. I wonder “Who am I to offer advice to any military wife?”  But that’s just the enemy speaking lies to me. The truth is that God knows every situation I’ve ever been in and I’ll ever be in. He knows the reason that I face every trial and that I receive every blessing. And there’s someone out there that I can bless, encourage, support, minister to, pray for, and even advise based on the experiences that I’ve had in my own life- no matter how great or small they may seem.
I encourage you to think about the lessons God has taught you in your life. Has He taught you patience during a deployment? Grace as a geographical single parent?  Organization as a working mom?  Financial stewardship as a wife on a tight budget? The power of prayer as a devoted wife? Hospitality as a new family on a new base? Creativity, independence, responsibility, courage, leadership, mercy, self defense, understanding of the military? Bill Badger and Daniel Hernandez were everyday people like you and I who did heroic things because they were willing to put to use the things that they’ve learned. Are you ready and willing to bless someone’s life? God is ready to use you!

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