In the shadow of Memorial Day here in the United States, I recently finished the amazing story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in WWII. The book is In Harm’s Way by Doug Stanton.
This book chronicles the incredible peril of the survivors of this proud ship of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet . To give a short summary(very short):”the early morning of July 30, 1945,..the USS Indianapolis, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, immediately killing nearly 300 men, and sending as many as 900 others into the black, churning embrace of the vast Philippine Sea, some 350 miles from nearest landfall. Four days later when the navy finally learned of the sinking, only 321 of these sailors were still among the living”.
The best-selling author, Chris Brady, talks about being “messed-up” watching the movie, Saving Private Ryan. Not only the intensity of the cinematography but our mind and heart’s feelings of what it must have been on the Omaha beach-head. This movie is concluded with the great Captain telling the Private that he had better make his life count. Now I was “messed-up” in this same way following the completion of the this book. It is the combination of the 1,196 brave sailors that set out to sail against an aggressive enemy, the USS Indianapolis,alone, on a secret mission to carry the components of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb, the twin torpedo strikes that sunk the majestic ship in 11 minutes, and the 900 men in and 321 men out of the water ratio of 4 1/2 days later due to exposure, fuel-oil and saltwater ingestion, and hundreds of shark attacks. But maybe the most striking characteristic was the common thread of the survivors mind-set – “I am going to live”.
Wow! Volumes of books and blogs could and probably are written on this subject of the desire to live. It can be put in so many different textual forms. I thought I had a fair idea of the mind-set required. But after the survivors were quoted this passage “I am going to live”, I found more meaning. How many of us just get frustrated with our commute to work, or “left-lane” drivers, or our coffee is cold, or same dinner again, or even, “it’s raining”? Our attitude is critical. What are we telling ourselves? Bill Lewis, co-founder of the company, Life, states, “Our communication struggles are not primarily a struggle of technique but a struggle of the heart. Our war of words is not with other people ; it is a battle within.” How can we survive if we are destroying our lives from within?
At the same time of finishing this book, I completed the 3rd week of the Mental Fitness Challenge (MFC). The week was spent on topic of Attitude. God has such a perfect way of putting an exclamation point on the week. Listening several times to Claude Hamilton‘s CD, Attitude, and reading through Orrin Woodward‘s chapter on attitude in Resolved, there is no doubt one can take specific intent to “live’ again. As these survivors of the USS Indianapolis choose their attitude despite the situation, we can too! I look forward to your choice of “I am going to live”! Live the life God expects of you. Take the Challenge to help you formulate a game plan and right attitude to achieve your life goals. I would expect a WIN!!
God Bless, Aron.
Steel the mind and Tender the heart.