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When I think of “Thanks for the Memories”, I think Bob Hope. If you’re too young to remember him, he was an actor and a comedian and did a lot of work with the USO to support our men and women in uniform.

I’m thankful for my memories. There are good ones and bad ones. What I’ve found over time is that the bad ones fade a bit, some even funny, while the good ones just get stronger.

I’m thankful for the bad ones because they teach us so much. I always learn more during the hard times than I do during the easy times. I think this happens because when your survival instincts kick in; you are so alive. Every sense is tingling, your creativity is through the roof.

The most important learning I have gained from the bad memories I have had is that you survived. It was tough. It was hard, but you made your way through it. If you want to read some stories that will just knock you in the dirt, check out my friend’s blog Beauty Beyond Bones.

I have not read her book yet, but it’s on my list. Read through a few of her blog posts, particularly the early ones when she just started out. I don’t want to give anything away, but they are heartbreaking. I’m a sucker for people who have faced this kind of adversity and win. She’s a testament of faith, belief in God, and is just “hard as nails.”

My memories are not as stark as hers, but they are uniquely my own. Each of us when we face those “dark nights of soul” rely on our creativity, our faith, and anything else we can grab onto to pull ourselves out of that deep, dark hole we find ourselves in, when nothing is going right, nothing works, and there appears to be no way out. It takes an iron will to push through these periods in our lives. Slowly, we pull ourselves out.

We are stronger, learn what NOT to do, and we evolve, much like the legend of the Phoenix, who rises from the ashes—renewed. After we’ve endured and recovered from events like these, we are different. We look at life with a new set of eyes. We realize that we are stronger than we ever thought we were.

I’m a firm believer that God never gives us something we cannot handle. God knows us better than we ever will. God gives us these experiences to become stronger spiritually, so we can serve others.

My good memories are always better. You feel them more. The day I proposed to my wife. The day I graduated from college. The day I graduated from Ranger School. My wife and I’s first date. These memories, along with many more, fill my heart with love. All of us have these memories. Hold on to them. They will continue to fill your heart with warmth and a love that is indescribable.

I hope each of you is having a great week. It’s late where I am (around 11:30 pm). I can hear the customary trains coming through town. It’s 27 degrees outside, and all is quiet. My time alone at night is a precious time. During these times I reminisce through all of my experiences, listen to calming music, and thank God for this life. A life that has been worth living, filled with adventure, excitement, fear, pain, boredom, and all the rest. I hope each of you can find a moment or time during the day to reach the same place I find myself every evening. A place of calm, peace, and gratitude for the gift of living.

Thanks for your attention.

Until next time…