“It’s not what happens to you in life but how you respond that matters.”
We’ve all heard the saying, but I just got off the phone with the woman who personifies it. Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle, the American Sniper. If you haven’t read his best-selling book, you may have seen the Oscar-nominated movie about his life. Either way, how she’s responded to the trials and tragedies in her life is inspirational.
Taya is coming to speak at Beth El Synagogue February 8th. On Monday, she cancelled nearly all of her interviews due to media criticism about her late husband. She didn’t cancel mine (listen to it here). I am grateful. Not only for the exclusive, but for the opportunity to speak with this extraordinary woman about her extraordinary circumstance. Being the wife of America’s most lethal sniper, bearing his children knowing at any moment he could be killed, struggling through his return to civilian life, suffering after his murder, and having his legacy humiliated while being sued by Jesse Ventura has not dimmed Taya’s light, weakened her strength, or diminished her faith.
She told me over and over again how blessed she feels every day. She choked up as she described Chris and their loving marriage. She opened up about her struggle with daily life to be a “normal” mom. She spoke reverently about her husband’s service and love of country.
This is not a woman who ever feels like a victim. Not only did she not turn against the things that brought her pain, she’s reached out to others suffering in hopes of healing them. Before he died, she and Chris started the Chris Kyle Foundation. The organization helps those who have served to rebuild strong families and community connections. Taya speaks publicly, allows herself to be vulnerable, and is honest about what it’s like to suffer, with the hope her story will help others be resilient. She’s also working on a book (American Wife), which she didn’t really want to talk about for fear of taking the focus off Chris.
I didn’t want to end our interview, which felt much more like a couple of girlfriends chatting than anything formal. Taya has suffered unimaginable tragedy and incomprehensible criticism from those people her husband was willing to give his life to defend.
Taya Kyle is a woman who knows how to respond to whatever life has to offer her. She is a hero.