From Daddy on Monday...with a slight edit.
Hello faithful family,
Well here is the long awaited address for Andy's new place in Florida--
James A. Haley Veterans Hospital
13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd
Tampa Florida, 33612,
(skip two spaces here and put ...)
James Andrew Burnett.
The whole thing goes in the center of the envelope as usual.
I had a long conversation with Daniel tonight and the gist is that Andy is doing what he is suppose to do with all of his therapist and he is eating, but he is also struggling with his reality. I'm sure we all knew these days of hard reality were coming.
Daniel's prescription seems to be a good one. He said, "Dad, we just have to get through it."
I think there is nothing else to say. Sometimes you just have to hurt and push on. Thank God for Daniel's wisdom and patience. He seems to know just what to do and be for Andy. But, at the end, this is Andy's battle, and he just needs time and space to fight it.
I would only ask that you to continue to pray hard. It is the only means by which we can really help him. In the place where Andy is now, I truly believe that only God's hand can lift him.
I (We) will never forget your faithfulness in these days.
Larry for Donna and our family
If you've been reading here very long, you've probably noticed that I try to keep the news of Andy succinct and as positive as it can be, given the gravity of the situation, while keeping it honest. I know it's hard to read at times. It's also hard to live, even from this distance. (I continually vascillate between believing that the distance is a blessing or a curse.) Nonetheless, it is always my goal to convey 3 facets in each revealing post about Andrew:
1) the facts of the situation, especially so that believers can pray specifically for his needs
2) the faith with which we face this reality--not to show it off for our glory but to reinforce our faith and belief in the author and creator of all of us. We do not stand by our own strength and at no time in the past or present has that ever been more clear to any of us.
3) the universal nature of the experience--because while this particular story belongs to Andy mainly, and the rest of us secondarily, it is also being played out to varying degrees in the lives of many other soldiers and their families too. This thought can be simultaneously comforting and grievous.
Some of you have only come to know Andy in the past month by whatever information and experiences you have collected through his story here. Know that we are deeply grateful for your concern, your prayers and your thoughts and that sharing his stories with you is healing for us. The power of virtual strangers expressing generous compassion and concern is amazing.
Daddy wrote today of the seeming beginning of the hardest part of this battle-- the part that only Andy can fight. There is no positive way to say it...except to say that I am positive that this is the fight of his life. That's just the bare fact. As the medications clear from his head and the hard blows of reality is no longer clouded, Andy--more than any of the rest of us--bears the full weight of how deeply his life has been altered.
The time has come to soldier on.
So that is what we do.
We claim a certain healthy amount of tunnel vision and we find just one day's worth of grace and power from God our Father--just enough. We are not thinking of tomorrow...just today. Not saying that's the long term plan--just the plan for now.
While Andy has a choice to make in how he responds to all that life has brought to him, and we pray often for him to have the strength of mind and soul to make all the right choices in this fight--the rest of us really don't have a choice for ourselves. Mom and Dad, Daniel, Deborah and I--I think it's safe to say that none of us even consider that we have a choice in this matter. Andy is ours. Our brother and son. We will soldier on right beside him, physically and metaphorically carrying him when need be, for as long as it takes.
Giving up is not an option.
Backing down is not an option.
Failure is not an option.
Andy's path in life is perhaps bumpier in the short-term, but it is as straight as it has always been. Surprising--yes. Unexpected hills and valleys--certainly. Dark at times--absolutely.
I don't believe in that "Army of One" theme--not for a single moment. I think it's totally bogus. I know that there are literally thousands of people in Andy's Army now...it started with 5...and it grows exponentially with each passing day.
Thank you for that.
Several readers have emailed questions about all sorts of topics related to my family, Andy, how the Army works in this situation and such...if you have questions, don't be shy. I have started answering them in a catch-all post that I would like to finish by Wednesday. So now is the time, if you have a burning question that's sticking to your brain like gum on your shoe... let me hear from you.