It’s been a year since my world was turned upside down.
It’s not that I didn’t see it coming, yet it still hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s like going into the ring with Mike Tyson. You don’t stand a chance. It’s inevitable. You know he’s going to knock you out or at least bite off a piece of your ear, or in my case, my heart.
Either way, it’s going to hurt. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, which includes nine straight Iron Bowl losses to Alabama, three tours in Iraq and the final season of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Most of us at some point in our lifetime will go through this sort of pain, and the source of our pain is irrelevant.
I’ve always heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I always chalked it up as just another “feel good” cliché, but now know that it’s much more than that; it’s the absolute truth for those of us who choose to see the cup as half full and not half empty.
Although I still have my weak moments, I know that I am a much stronger person. Not only that, I’m a better person. My faith is at an all-time high. I’m more caring and compassionate than before, and I truly understand the power of forgiveness.
I don’t hate; I hurt. Sometimes. Furthermore, I don’t blame or point fingers. Perhaps I did early on but not anymore. That was the easy thing to do.
One of my old bosses in the Army used to say that when you point your finger at someone else, you have four more pointing right back at yourself. He was, however, only 75 percent correct, unless he was double jointed in his thumb. I know I made mistakes, but I was faithful, loving and loyal to the bitter end. That is something no one can deny.
I sincerely wish all parties involved nothing but the best. They know that, and I think they wish the same for me. Life is too precious and too short to harbor hate and resentment in our hearts. It gets you nowhere. It weighs you down. It puts you in a dark place, a hole. The very wise and practical Will Rogers said it best, “When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.”
Instead of digging myself into deeper sorrow, I relied heavily on my faith, family, friends and fur babies to get through those hard times. I also found myself writing more, as well as riding more out on the beautiful back roads of east Alabama and west Georgia.
Speaking of digging, gardening has been therapeutic for me, too. Even during our darkest hours, there are so many good things for us to focus on.
By no means was it all bad. As time goes by, I’m focusing more and more on the good memories that were made, and believe you me, they were plentiful. I will hold some of them near and dear to my heart for the rest of my life. Most of those memories are of the sweetest little girl in the whole wide world.
It’s often been said that life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon — oftentimes an uphill, shoeless marathon on a dirt road littered with rocks, rattlesnakes and shards of glass. You’re going to bleed and you’re going to hurt, but you have to keep on moving forward.
Your resilience, perseverance and toughness will strengthen with each step, and as long as you never quit, you will undoubtedly reach the finish line and be a better person when the dust has settled. Trust me. I’ve been there. Don’t ever give up.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comedian, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at [email protected] www.jodyfuller.com