On October 1st this Country that I love was hurt by one of its own. At this point I’m sure all of you have read about the tragedy that happened this past Sunday. The worst moment for me was realizing that I wasn’t shocked about what I read. I was upset, disturbed, saddened – but I wasn’t in disbelief. It is becoming far too common to wake up in the morning and read about suffering and death brought about by the choices made by individuals.

As terrible as these occurrences are, without exception you can find light in the darkness. Light that is also brought about by choices. For example, the Washington Post told of a story about courage under fire. Jonathan Smith was in attendance watching the concert with his family. As the gunfire started he told his entire extended family to hold hands and run. When his family was safe he turned around to help bring others to safety. He led a group of people to a nearby handicap parking lot. He noticed a few young girls weren’t fully hidden; he stood up and moved forward to urge them to get down, that’s when he felt a bullet enter his neck.  As soon as Smith realized what was happening around him he made choices. He chose to lead his family, he chose to put others above himself and lead strangers to safety. He chose to finish the job and ensure those he led were properly cared for. Smith was released from the hospital with the bullet still lodged in his neck. Doctors were afraid removing it would cause further damage at this time. Even though for the foreseeable future he will be living with this constant discomfort, I doubt he regrets the choices he made.

Every day we are faced with adversity, some days it’s as little as being cut off on the freeway, or not agreeing with a spouse. Other days it may be dealing with financial stress, or dealing with injustices done to us. Inevitably we will deal with some real hardships, such as sickness or the loss of a friend or a family member. When we face these adversities our choices are what define us. We can react and let the darkness take over, or we can take lead of the situation, find our strength and find the light.