A Real Life Ukraine Story! by WJ Vincent II
A Real Life Ukraine Story!!!
Our original plan was to release part 3 of our Online tool series for this week’s blog, but given the world events taking place right now, we thought it more important to share this real life Ukraine story. We hope that peace comes soon to the people of Ukraine, it is hard to believe this is happening in the modern day world right now.
My Wife Immigrated To America From Ukraine
Alright, a lot of people know that my wife who passed away in 2012 was born in Russia. She grew up there, but most people don’t know that before she came to America, she and her mom immigrated to the Ukraine when she was just a teenager, where her stepfather had started a business. His business was going very well at the time, and he was building a house. One day in the newspaper there was an advertisement for something called the “Greencard Lottery” and her mother said they should try it, because they would win. My wife Natalia had dreamed of coming to America for many, many years, and so she was very excited for this chance. It was a very arduous, difficult, challenging, and expensive process. Each step of the way was designed to weed people out, and limit the actual number of possible immigrants. For example, if anything was wrong with your envelope, your paperwork, etc., your application was simply thrown out. All the paperwork had to be translated into English by an approved translator which cost big bucks at the time.
When they managed to get through the first parts of the process, they had to travel to Poland to get all their medical work done, as it was the nearest approved medical facility that America would accept. They had to pay for the trip, staying there for a number of days and more. We later found out that the chances for her, her mom, and stepfather to actually win this lottery were less than 1 in 394. We always thought it was a miracle that we ever met, and the number of coincidences that had to happen for her to make it to America were astonishing. Not the least of which was her mom and dad getting a divorce, and her mom moving them to the Ukraine to marry the man who became her stepfather. As I watch some of the coverage of what is happening in Ukraine right now, I feel a multitude of emotions. The Ukraine always had a special place in my heart, because my wife never makes it to America if she wasn’t living there. Seeing what is happening to people who only a week ago were living very normal lives with hopes, dreams, jobs, children, families, relationships, much like we do here in America, is so hard to see.
I have been moved and inspired by the people of Ukraine who have decided to fight for their freedom, to not allow the arbitrary decisions of another nation to subjugate them. By all accounts Putin of Russia has been completely surprised by the amount of resistance and difficulty they are facing, having expected to just roll through the country in a couple days. My wife grew up in Communist Russia, she was born in 1977 long before the wall came down, and things changed. She waited in line for toilet paper, and many other important things growing up. Basic necessities were never a guarantee there. Often the difference between survival and disaster was their ability to grow their own food in a garden. I vividly recall on one of my own trips there, her Aunt Tatiana harvesting cabbage from their plot of land that they grew cabbage on every year in order to make it through the winter.
As all of us go through our daily lives thousands of miles away from this terrible conflict, maybe each of us should take a moment to remember how lucky we are to be living in a country that is free. Where anyone, from any background, any religion, any race, can choose their own path in life. If they are willing to work hard enough, long enough, and learn what they need to learn along the way, a better life, a good life is almost a certainty. I see many people who have forgotten the need to work hard part, and the need to learn part, complaining about all the rich people, the billionaires, etc., and it saddens me. Of course there are many billionaires that have caused problems, or who don’t use their wealth to make the world a better place. There will always be incredibly unscrupulous people, people who did questionable things along the way to make that money, but there also has always been a large percentage of good people who are successful. In my opinion and experience, it is actually the majority. Talking about the few bad eggs makes for better headlines. But what makes me sad, is that we used to celebrate people’s success. We used to all be collectively proud of someone when they achieved something greater than what most people do. That seemed to lift all of us up a little bit higher. Knowing that our own lives could continue to improve with hard work, sacrifice, and a willingness to learn new things, was a huge positive, because we had examples of it all around us.
Today, let’s all be thankful that we get to still choose what we want to be, what we want to do, and what we want to believe in this country. Yes there seems to be a growing amount of “censorship” taking place that is of great concern, but nothing like what is happening to the Ukraine. None of us is waking up worried about a bomb, or an artillery shell, or a tank blast destroying our homes. All of us have the gift of freedom. Make no mistake about it, America still stands as a bastion of hope and light in the world. My dearly departed wife dreamed of a better life in America even as she lived in a place where she was supposed to hate us at the time. Instead of being jealous of our success, instead of complaining about how good we had it here, she dreamed of becoming a part of it, and one day thanks to the Ukraine, she got to live it. And boy oh boy did she live it. I can only hope and pray that my children will appreciate, and love life and freedom as much as their mother did. I hope that each and every one of you will find the ability to be grateful and thankful for the opportunities we have in this country, even as we hope for a resolution to what is happening right now to the Ukraine. It has been said so many times that life is a gift to us from God, the universe, or whatever you choose to believe in. What we choose to do with our lives is our gift back. Here’s to all of us doing the best we can, for as long as we can, and living lives that are truly free!
“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall
Here’s to Empowering your dreams, Igniting Your Passion, and Accelerating Your Prosperity!
WJ Vincent II
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