Two weeks ago my ex-military son told me he felt “called” to go on a humanitarian mission to Ukraine alongside several dozen veteran friends. My first born said his military training had prepared him "for such a time as this." He shared he believed freedom is a right everyone’s entitled to and was why he supported Ukraine in their fight for freedom.
Grief & Tears
Later that night as I sat in my living room grieving, I struggled with thoughts of what might happen to my son in a war torn country. Alternately, I had feelings of pride and awe at my son’s willingness to sacrifice for people he had no emotional or social connection with.
After much struggle and with tears in my eyes, I determined my son needed my support to achieve his Vision of “Freedom for ALL!” I also came face to face with the Truth that he didn’t need me to convince him to stay away from this dangerous situation. What would serve him best was for his mamma to support his free and autonomous choice to serve those who shared his Vision.
So how did I come to the determination that my son needed my strength and not my emotion? Why was I empowered to open, in less than a week, ‘The Bravery Foundation,’ a not for profit society dedicated to supporting democratic freedom?
The Value of Struggle
Years ago while homeschooling my four boys I learned the value of struggle and its connection with trust. As one of our projects, we decided to hatch baby chicks in a homemade incubator in our living room (ironically the same room I was now grieving the potential loss of my son in). All the books and internet articles we read warned us to NOT help the chicks as they struggled to get out of their shell. They told us they needed to fight to hatch and that if they didn’t, they would die. What they neglected to tell us was the reason for this Truth.
Each day we carefully turned the eggs, kept the humidity and temperature just right. We candled them and watched as the little chicks formed inside their shells. Finally hatching day arrived and we observed with great anticipation as they pipped out. After hours of anxiously waiting, we couldn’t resist peeling away some of their shells. They seemed so helpless as they fought to get free.
Sadly, we learned the hard way that the yolk sack, which later becomes the chick’s intestines, remains outside their body prior to hatching. The purpose of the yolk sack is to nourish the little one through their struggle and is the last bit of energy required to successfully hatch. We tried wrapping small cloths and tape around our prematurely hatched chicks. We did this to help keep their intestines from flopping around and in the hope it would provide enough artificial struggle that their intestines would go into their bodies. Mournfully, we watched as they died one by one. This experience was awful, especially after we discovered our lack of trust was what led us to do things we thought were helpful but in the end were not. Thankfully we learned from our mistake, and later successfully hatched not only little chicks but ducklings too!
Humility & Acceptance
Even though past experiences have taught me that struggle is key to unlocking the doorway of trust, it wasn’t easy to accept that my first born was choosing to go to war. The fact my son may never return and that I was not in control of the outcome pushed me to the brink. This was the biggest struggle I’ve ever had in my 53 years of life and it humbled me very quickly.
So what was the process that led me to accept my son’s choice? To put it simply, struggle caused me to trust. Trust what you might ask? Trust Truth and any process Truth walked me through. Acceptance did not come easily, but in the end I chose, of my own free will, to humbly reconcile my beliefs with Truth’s. “Truth never aligns with our desires; Truth always requires we make a conscious choice to align our will with it.” One point of clarity. Acceptance does not condone the what or how of the struggle and it doesn’t absolve the perpetrator of wrong doing, it just means you’ve come to terms with what is.
My willingness to humbly accept the Truth that my son was choosing to go to a war zone created two new realities for me that earlier seemed impossible. First it generated a peace within my soul that even though his safe return was not guaranteed, it was the right thing to do BECAUSE HE CHOSE IT. Secondly, it birthed in me Vision for The Bravery Foundation. If anyone’s ever had Vision before they can attest to the fact that Vision produces a passion so strong that it drives one forward in a very determined manner. So, in less than a week’s time, I had not only opened a non-profit society and bank account, I created a website and began an awareness campaign for the foundation and started raising funds.
My son also struggled with his decision to stand with those fighting for freedom. It was only once he’d been given the opportunity to wrestle alone with Truth that he was able to freely choose to serve the Ukrainian nation. By the time he shared with me his intentions, his determination was tangibly evident and deep seeded, for he too now had Vision, passion and drive to fight for “Freedom for ALL!”
It has been my experience that when Truth is sought after all else, it’s revealed and Vision created. Vision at its core is revealed Truth that’s personal to you. Vision becomes tangible after a decision is made to humbly accept and trust Truth because free will is the required element to authenticate it. This action is what commission’s passion, which in turn fuels drive. Without these components it's impossible to explore new pathways or innovative creative options. Musicians complete this process every time they bring into existence a new melody and just like new music is endless, so too is one’s freedom to access Truth and Vision!
Work it Forward and Backwards
The Truth is, no matter how you look at it, struggle produces trust and so much more.
Struggle + Free Choice + Humility = Trust + Awareness & Acceptance of Truth = Vision -> Passion -> Drive
You cannot have drive without passion. You cannot have passion without Vision. You cannot have Vision without awareness & acceptance of Truth. You cannot become aware of and accept Truth without trust. You cannot trust without being humble. You cannot be humble unless you freely choose to be. You cannot choose unless there is a choice to make, which in and of itself denotes struggle. In other words, choice naturally has imbedded inside it, at least two pathways to choose from, and it's always a struggle to chose one over the other. When broken down it's simple to understand, but simple does not make it easy to do. The key is to remember, one needs to embrace struggle because it provides the opportunity for free choice to be engaged and IS WHY FREEDOM MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COST!!
Vision Produces the Unstoppable
I strongly believe if one was to analyze why Ukrainians, by the millions, are staying and fighting for their homeland, I suspect the same core Truths of struggle, free choice and trust would be found. Ukrainians are UNSTOPPABLE, not because the war is unjustified, which it is, but because they’re choosing to humbly exercise their free will to embrace struggle. Their Vision of "Freedom for All" is deeply embedded and their passion so strong that it’s clear they have been, and will continue to be driven to do whatever it takes to WIN! Ukrainian’s are my new hero’s!
“Struggle causes one to look beyond the possible, so the impossible becomes possible!”
We are all in this TOGETHER!