All of us have experienced burning some part of our body. Our hands and fingers are the most vulnerable and our stoves and ovens are the most notorious culprits. Imagine, if you can, being lit on fire by a roadside bomb that exploded when your Humvee drove over it. Imagine your body engulfed by flames for longer than a nano second. You can’t pull your body out of the searing heat—you’re forced to lie there because you’re STUCK! Not only are you in excruciating pain from the fire trouncing your body, but smoke is filling your lungs, suffocating you, while your mind goes numb with fear. The brain shuts down as a coping mechanism, which is actually a blessing because you can’t handle that type of physical and mental trauma.
Awakening can sometimes be even more torturous than the actual injury. JR Martinez knows firsthand about the horrendous circumstances I just explained. He suffered severe burns to more than 40% of his body and being scarred beyond recognition. He also knows what it’s like to want to die before he’s even begun to live.
You see, JR was only 19 when he went to Iraq and suffered that tragic accident. Seeing himself for the first time, he didn’t think he had anything to live for. He felt his life was over; that no girl would ever want him; that he’d never have a family; that he'd never have a normal life. He wanted to give up…but the love for his mother wouldn’t let him.
JR Martinez’s story is remarkable. His courage, determination and perseverance are inspiring. He believes in paying it forward! He also has acronyms: ADAPT = Acceptance, Determination, Action, Positivity, Trust and POWER = Positivity, Optimism, Will, Effort, Resilience! All of which he personally used to not only survive his personal ordeal, but heal and forgive and forge a non-profit foundation to help other wounded soldiers. This young man also does speaking engagements to spread his remarkable story and his legacy of positivity, resilience and courage! What an awesome gift to give his future children! A legacy that can be handed down from generation to generation!
My youngest son heard JR’s story and told me that he thought I could be that positive. I politely disagreed with him because I’m not sure I could be under such conditions. I'm of the belief that I still need some inner work but JR inspired me to work even harder on my personal journey of positivity, paying it forward and overall purpose in life.
I won’t ever be famous like JR, but I can touch the lives of those around me— family, friends, and even strangers. If I can make their lives a little bit brighter, happier, easier…then I’ve done something worthwhile. Maybe they in turn will do something nice for someone else. Then, when I’m gone, maybe someone will say, wow that Pamela was a nice lady and my legacy will be passed on...