The Lady of the Tavern, the Southern Gal brought these thoughts to mind today, having found time during her busy Eastertime to consider the making of Heroes. She brought in a guest: an American gentleman, a soldier, with a typically tonguetwister American name: Joe Kapacziewski. She quoted a Greek chap too.
“You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day.
You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
Epicurus. Philosopher of the 4th century BC.
OK, He said it in Greek and it probably translates poorly, but we get the drift. And that is not Epicurus above. That is Joe. You will meet him in a moment.
Now, I have to remind you that TSG does not speak from a stand-off, academic perspective. She has been there and done that.We can never go through life without challenges or without pain. As believers, often-times we look to the skies and ask the Almighty “Abba, come rescue me.” We do not embrace the challenges as a test or as a way of growing for the human experience our Creator put us here for. We fail to see the forging within ourselves through the fire.
It is often said that you really see who someone is when they go through adversity in their lives. Most choose to sit, wallow and whine.
Some go through their lives and blame others for everything that has gone wrong in their lives.
The tides of war have changed with the times, and few are left to bleed their lives out on the battlefield. Helicopter crews and Medical teams can get a chap to proper medical care quickly enough to save lives. But all too often those lives are changed irrevocably. Few can go back.Others still, choose to rise above it, and overcome. Not all embrace life’s challenges equally.
Let us look at an Heroic man. Gary Sinese, the actor who has made his off-screen mission to boost such heroes, tells us.SFC Joe Kapacziewski is the first amputee in the Army Rangers history to return to combat, serving 9 tours in the Middle East. He has written a book, Back in the Fight, which details his inspiring story.
In October 2005, while on deployment in northern Iraq, a grenade fell through the gunner's hatch and exploded, shattering Kapacziewski's right leg below the knee, damaging his right hip, and severing a nerve and artery in his right arm.He endured more than forty surgeries hoping to save his right leg. But in March 2007, Kapacziewski chose to have it amputated with one goal in mind: to return to the line and serve back alongside his fellow Rangers as a platoon leader.
One year after his surgery, Kapacziewski accomplished his goal,
His exemplary career was yet to run its full heroic course.he was put back on the line, as a squad leader of his Army Ranger Regiment.
On April 19, 2010, during his ninth combat deployment (and fifth after losing his leg), Kapacziewski's patrol ran into an ambush outside a village in eastern Afghanistan.
After a fellow Ranger fell to withering enemy fire, shot through the belly, Sergeant Kapacziewski and another soldier dragged him seventy-five yards to safety and administered first aid that saved his life, all while heavy machine guns tried to kill them.
His actions earned him an Army Commendation Medal with "V" for Valor. He had previously been awarded a Bronze Star for Valor—and a total of three Purple Hearts for combat wounds.When I think of someone like Sergeant Kapacziewski, he embodies what personal sacrifice for a greater cause is.
His journey was not easy;
I am sure he spent many long days rebuilding his body. But his human spirit was undeterred. He is an overcomer, not a complainer. He could have spent hours on the couch watching T.V., feeling sorry for himself, but he didn’t. He continued to set goals and reach them.They say the love of comfort can cripple a nation. Looking around at the current generation I cannot say I disagree. Everyone wants rewards without sacrifice.
The harsh truth is, what comes easily is usually cheap and taken for granted. We don’t reach our true potential by living in comfort and ease.
Sgt Joe is not alone, apart from returning to combat. In that he is unusual. Douglas Bader flew Spitfires while having prostheses. There are others who have lost limbs in battle. Men - yes and women - who have embraced their extra-share of adversity and found the courage and determination to persist in their growth: Heroes and Heroines who nurture their qualities with all the love that is deserved for the bearers of God's gifts.To achieve the fullness life has to offer requires sacrifice and work and the ability to get back up again and keep moving forward through adversity.Honest hard work- this is something God seeks from all of us. God's words tell us that working hard, with faith in mind, can lead to the great things He has planned for us.“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”-Proverbs 12:11
So, fill your tankards. Raise them up. Drink to them all.