Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Wreck Day

My father died almost eight years ago, but it was 53 years ago today that he was involved in a serious accident. He was a young man in his early thirties. He spent several months in the hospital and the doctors didn't expect him to live. He baffled all the medical profession by then refusing to die, so they challenged him again with this question: "Your injuries to your hip were so great that we have to fuse it - you need to tell us whether you want to sit or stand for the rest of your life. What do you choose?" My father responded, "I want to stand so I can look the world in the eye."

And that he did. Each year after, he made us kids and mom wish him "Happy Wreck Day" because he explained, it was this day that he was forced to make a decision: In the time of adversity one finds out who they are and decides who they want to be. Dad decided that he wanted to stand by his wife and nine children... Nine kids all under the age of thirteen - I can't imagine what it was like for Mom and Dad. But I do know, they gave me a great gift by offering this unique view of life, where you look the world in the eye and only you decide, not fate or circumstance, who it is that the world is looking back at - only you decide who you are now and who you will be.

The truth of that view I have witnessed daily, there is no harm or misfortune that can ever take that decision from you. We decide and take each challenge as the opportunity to reevaluate and reaffirm who we are. Thanks, Dad, we miss you, but still today, thank you for teaching us to celebrate "Happy Wreck Day."