What American Sniper Taught Me

A few years ago, my husband and I read a wonderful book, American Sniper. It was co-written and about the U.S.’s deadliest sniper, Chris Kyle. The book was an emotional read and it truly gave me a newfound respect for the men and women who serve this country, their sacrifices and those of their families.

This past weekend was the box office debut for the movie. My parents came to watch the kids, so that my husband and I could have a date night and enjoy the movie.

First off, I must give two thumbs up to Bradley Cooper. His portrayal of Chris Kyle was spot on. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see Bradley Cooper while watching the movie. I saw Chris Kyle. Every interview I’d ever seen Chris Kyle in, Bradley Cooper was able to flawlessly imitate this man. It was eerie.

Second, I’m so excited and pleased to hear that the movie smashed box office records for a weekend in January, beating out Avatar, which I also saw opening weekend in the theaters. It’s nice to see that a story which can seem somewhat controversial in this day and age, was able to receive such astounding support from the general public. It’s nice that a true story can trump fiction.

All weekend I’ve relived scenes from the movie in my mind. I’ve thought about what he endured, what his family endured and how tragically life can be cut short. It’s made me appreciate what I have more and focus on not taking it for granted quite so much.

The movie ends with Chris telling his family “goodbye” as he goes to help another veteran suffering from PTSD. He tries to entice his wife into a quick 4 minute lovemaking session, but she playfully pushes him away. Little did she know that she would no longer be able to feel his arms around her again. His son wants him to play video games with him, but Chris tells him he doesn’t have the time, but maybe later when he returns. He never got the opportunity to play another game with his son, or cuddle his little girl. He never thought that once he left the house that would be the last time he saw his family again.

How often do we all just assume that our family and loved ones will be home when we get back? How often do we put off doing things with our children because we assume that we have tomorrow? How often do we women feign a headache when our husbands want some intimate time with us because we always have tomorrow? Yeah, these questions have crossed my mind and it saddens me that I’m guilty of all of these.

Yesterday I made the effort to hug my husband more, to kiss him more, to be more affectionate with him. I made a point of telling him how blessed I am that he’s my husband, that he comes home to me, and that I get to share this life with him. When our oldest wanted daddy to go play outside with him yesterday, I reminded my husband that he can’t put it off to tomorrow just because he wants to watch football. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.

It’s highly unlikely that I won’t have days where I “put it off” until tomorrow anymore. I know the boys will get under my skin or that I’ll really just want to take a bubble bath in peace and quiet instead of enjoying family time. I’m aware that today I’ve already told Davey that I can’t color with him because I have to work, but I can promise to do better.

So many people took away from this movie a story about a man killing insurgents. So many people didn’t see the movie for what it really was. It taught me a lesson we all know so well…life is short, it’s not guaranteed, and that some things in life are “trivial” and shouldn’t be considered.

I’m two years older than Chris Kyle was when his life was tragically cut short. I may live until 90 and experience a house full of grandchildren one day. I may also walk out the door, climb into my car, and be involved in a tragic car accident. Live life to it’s fullest. Appreciate every second of every day that the Lord has given you on this earth. Love like it’s your last day to love. Hug those who need a hug and even those who don’t.

Appreciate your life and those who are in it. That’s what Chris Kyle and American Sniper taught me.


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