"I want to write a book as a reflection of my experiences, and to inspire anyone who reads it to see that life is simply a journey.  

I'm writing for you and I'm writing for me..."

Living In The Gray
(memoir excerpt) 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. 
Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened,

ambition inspired, and success achieved.

HELEN KELLER

 

The first time I met my long-time friend, Ivan’s mother, she said “Who are you?”  Cheerfully I replied, “I’m John Keller.”  She then screwed up her face and said, “Hmm… I heard you were bad.”  And with that she walked away.  That was it.  My fate sealed. I was big and I was bad.

 

In the time that I've been back from serving in the military, I have grown to understand how experiences changed my life.  They've  molded me into the man I am and still becoming, steering me on a path of service. But most importantly it has humbled and shown me a view of my life from a perspective most don't get, from the eyes of others.  It's like being at your funeral and getting to hear what people say about you.  From interviews to articles and blogs, it's truly a unique experience when for so long you thought who you were didn't matter.          

 

Life is always full of unexpected twists and turns; but what ever you put into it, you get back in return.  My journey is proof that dreams can come true.  I have not always chosen the proper path but somehow I made all of my situations work for me.  They worked because I never gave up.  At times my life reflects events that are unique and sometimes just downright as unusual as they come.  But I hope to inspire others to stand up in their own lives, take the unbeaten path and go for it.  I have no regrets.  My message is one of perseverance, and to show by example that no matter what you have done in the past, you can always correct it and rebuild yourself when you are broken.  When things are at their worst, I say, "you could always be in Iraq or Afghanistan" so fortunately, everything in an instant isn't that bad or serious.   Just never give up.

 

What drives me to be the way I am and makes me live to a certain code of conduct is instilled in my moral fiber -- To always do my best.  I learned this from my grandfather, Big Daddy.  But the flip side is many times life gets in the way of attaining our goals.  Life shouldn't be made this hard to survive; but it is.  I'm not one to sugar coat the truth.  The reality is "IT IS WHAT IT IS."  When you die people will remember who you were and what you stood for. 

 

My journey now makes me want to make a difference in how I live my life every day and truly understand that I, all of us, were put here for a higher purpose.  Many lose sight of that common goal, but it's up to everyone to truly commit to making a change.  I feel the powers that be tend to forget where they came from.  No one wants to take a stand anymore, and we have no real role models.  But it's time to really make a difference, not just talk about it.  We can make our surroundings better by being true to ourselves.  

 

So I hope you will experience my journey and understand why I made the choices I made.  They may not have always been the best decisions; but you will see that I take responsibility, they were all mine.

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