• 64°

There’s A Way: I would have missed this

“I would have missed this.” That’s what I think a lot of days of my life now.

Almost always – when special things happen but sometimes when nothing is really going on – it will hit me out of the blue. “I would have missed this. If it worked, I would have missed this. I wouldn’t be here. I’d be gone, and I would have missed this.”

Every year in the United States, 1 million people attempt suicide. Every year in the United States, 800,000 succeed. In 2013 while battling an undiagnosed mental illness – and the addictions that came from self medicating that illness – I was one of the 200,000 that failed.

It is often only in hindsight that we see failure as grace. As I look back now, I see the beautiful gift my failure was because “I would have missed this.”

I clearly remember the first time I thought it. I’d gotten sober and made peace with God and my life. Things were looking up, but still I didn’t go to WrestleMania 30 expecting to be overwhelmed by gratitude.

We took the trip to The Super Dome in New Orleans because my son D was 8 at the time and obsessed with professional wrestling. I’d like to say I was just being a good dad, but as a lifelong fan myself, I wanted to be there as badly as he did.

We found our seats just as the pyro kicked off the show and my childhood hero, Hulk Hogan, came out. I cheered with the other 75,000 people there and looked at D.

Tears were streaming down his face.

I said, “What’s wrong, buddy?” He said, “I’m just so happy to be here.”

I smiled and thanked God that I was there to see my son cry tears of joy for the first time in his life.

Tears of gratitude are my favorite kind. As his led to mine, I thought, “I would have missed this. If it worked, I would have missed this.”

There have been many “I would have missed this” moments since then: the day we bought our house, playing my dream songwriting gig in Huntsville, sitting with my wife on a beach in the Bahamas celebrating our 15th anniversary. I could go on and on, but sometimes even when things aren’t great, God reminds me that being here for the bad is better than not being here at all.

I realize many people are not as open as me about their struggles, but if you’re reading this and you can relate, try and think about it the next time the darkness grabs you. As hard as it was for me to see the good that lay before me in 2013, it was still there. I believe more good is coming. I also believe good is coming for you too. Trust me when I tell you, you don’t want to miss it.

Will Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.