What if Your Pain Exists To Help Someone Else?

Sometimes your path seems so twisted you wonder if you’ll ever again wander the yellow brick road of life.  After we lost everything in our business, I muddled through for what seemed like half a decade.  Oh, Dennis and I had paid off over $2,000,000 in debt, but even that didn’t seem like any accomplishment.   It wasn’t enough and it wasn’t fast by our own personal standards.  The hill ahead of us still seemed like Mt Everest.

As our son Travis neared college age, we wondered how we would send him to college.   Then, as if an angel from Heaven appeared, we met Major Chandler at the University of Central Missouri.  We didn’t have a scheduled meeting.  The business school rep managed to get us an impromptu 10-minute meeting with the Major because Travis had expressed a slight interest in the military.

We got the meeting.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.  It changed Travis’ destiny.

The Major took out a bright yellow sheet of paper.  One sheet.  Black type.  I remember the words he said… “I can get your entire four-year college education paid for if you can meet these requirements.”   He made it seem so simple.

Travis was up for the challenge.

We delved into months of applying for the four-year Army ROTC national scholarship and after jumping through some major hoops, Travis got word.  He was recipient of the national scholarship, an award worth over $81,000, not including his room and board.

Dennis and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Travis was going to college and it was paid for.

But we could not have known what lay in store.

There are few perfect paths in life.  There are very few people you look at and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re doing exactly what they’re meant to do.

We look at Travis and his accomplishments in his Army ROTC program over the past 3 years and know that he is exactly where God wanted him.  His perfect place.  He’s become a Special Forces Combat Diver.  He maxes the PT (physical training) test at 350 when the test max is 300.  He competes with his best buddy Ethan.  He’s in top physical, mental, emotional and yes, even spiritual shape.   He’s a leader in every since of the word.

He’s exactly what the Army was looking for.  And the Army was exactly what Travis was looking for without even knowing it.

So the question is…If we had not collapsed financially, would Travis have found his perfect place?  Was our bend in the road really the bridge to Travis’ future?     If we had been able to write checks for college like we could have 10 years earlier, would Travis have ended up a wandering frat boy with parties and boobs on the brain?

Travis will leave the University of Central Missouri in May of 2013 with no debt, a degree in Business Administration and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.    He has a career path ahead of him filled with promotion and adventure.  He’ll also leave with lifetime memories of the buddies he made along the way, the divers he risked his life with training in the Atlantic Ocean, the commanders who gave him countless opportunities to show what he was made of and a family so proud we think our hearts will burst.

In John Eldredge’s epic book “Wild at Heart” he writes that every man needs three things in his life in order to really feel like a man:

#1)  A battle to fight,

#2)  An adventure to live and,

#3) A beauty to rescue

Trav is well on his way to accomplishing #1 and #2.  He’ll never have to ask himself longingly “do I have what it takes?”  because he knows the answer.  Yes, he does have what it takes.   And I know he’ll find the real beauty (#3) as his life unfolds.

When I look back on my own pain over the past few years, I thank God for the blessings that have come because of it.  I wouldn’t trade one minute of my pain for my son’s glory.    We’re all richer because Travis found his path.


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