This is the second in a series of articles Chaplain Doug Samples has shared called 10 Decisions for a Positive Attitude. Decision #7 is, "Decide to take responsibility for your own attitude.” You can view all 10 decisions here.
Vietnam… June 1969… Bob Wieland stepped on an 82mm buried mortar, a round designed to destroy tanks.
It severely damaged his legs; they had to be amputated above the knee. Wieland likes to say of that day, “My legs went one direction, my life another.”
In a letter to his parents after his accident, he wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’m in the hospital.
Everything is going to be O.K.
The people here are taking good care of me.
P.S. I think I lost my legs
After recovering from this trauma, Bob decided to run marathons! He even “ran” across America on his hands, taking three years… eight months… and six days… to travel from coast to coast. (You might want to go back and re-read that last sentence!)
In 1988 at 41, he finished the Los Angeles Marathon, taking 74.5 hours to complete the 26.2 mile race. He started the race a day earlier than everyone else and finished two days after the last runner had crossed the finish line!
Decision No. 7 in our list of 10 Decisions for a Great Attitude is… decide to take responsibility for your own attitude. If we are ever going to have a great attitude, there has to come a time in our life where we decide to take responsibility for ourselves.
This is hard for me to say and hard for you to do, but at some point in time, we have to quit blaming other people for what’s wrong in our lives. We have to take responsibility for our own attitude.
No! He shouldn’t have done that to you! Of course it was wrong for your friend to betray you like that! I’m so very sorry that you were hurt so deeply!
Other people may do me wrong and take advantage of me, but they should not (and cannot!) have control over my attitude. No one chooses my attitude for me. I choose my attitude.
Like Bob Wieland, even when life deals you a wicked, awful tragedy, you and I still get to decide how we are going to respond to the heartbreaks of life.