September 11th is a day that will live in infamy forever.

  • For the U.S.A, it is one thing (9/11/2001)
  • For me, it has become two different things.
    • 9/11/2014 – Alyssa and I took the first unexpected turn in either of our lives
    • 9/11/2018 – Alyssa and I chose an unexpected turn for our lives

When Alyssa and I were first married in October of 2013, we found ourselves working together managing a “Mom and Pop” restaurant. Things were going well… well, sort of. We were working a lot and giving of ourselves to support the owners (who were experiencing some family chaos at the time.) In fact, we began to feel like we were almost a part of this “family.” We had scheduled to leave for our first vacation all summer, starting Sept. 11th, 2014. Long story short, we were wrongly accused for money going missing within the business and let go without any warning or severance. Both of our full-time jobs GONE.

We had purchased our house a month before this, and the engine in Alyssa’s vehicle had just given up the ghost.

Needless to say, it was not a shining moment for the TN Lands. That “vacation” had a different feel than we were planning.

Alyssa was emotionally wounded. I was hurt, but the fact that someone had so senselessly bludgeoned the light of my life made me want to scream.

I remember soaking in the ocean waist-deep with Alyssa as we tried to forget what had just happened 24hrs earlier. I looked at her under her sunhat and shades reminding myself that we were going to be ok. She smiled and squealed at me as saltwater splashed up my back and into her face, dripping down like the tears we had cried together. Now, when I remember that memory the thing that sticks out to me is:

Adversity caused our relationship and trust in each other to grow.

Now, we find ourselves at another crossroads four years later. This time we are calling the shots. Instead of circumstance tossing us about, self-challenge is propelling us forward. Since I used the “crossroads” analogy, it is appropriate to tip my hat to Robert Frost and say that we are choosing the road less traveled, trusting that in the end it will have made all the difference.

Alyssa and I are taking time to re-evaluate our lives and establish the priorities we have decided upon. We have taken comfort, safety, predictability and are trading them in at the General Store of Life for purpose, curiosity, and adventure. These next 6 weeks will be a lifelong memory. I know it is a launching pad for the rest of our lives.

Ultimately 9/11 reminds us as a couple that we are strong together. Cool thing is, it does the same thing for Americans.