Why I Went In is the story of how Laura Hanson went from hero to zero. It began when she left her job as a SWAT Operator on the Virginia Beach Police Department to pursue a higher purpose for her life. Six months after leaving she was living in the room above the garage at her parents' house, her wife left her, and she had no source of income. She felt like she had nothing to show for her life and the memories of past successes haunted her as she asked herself how this was possible.
While alone, she recalled a major event in her life, when she responded to an active shooter on May 31, 2019, at Building 2 in the Virginia Beach municipal complex. She thought of all the other dangerous calls she responded to both on SWAT and as a patrol officer. She realized she was in the midst of an existential crisis and needed answers.
This scenario was very familiar to her because she had already spent the majority of her life seeking answers to questions about her purpose as a result of being adopted. This environment she found herself in served as a catalyst for finding the answers to questions she hadn't come up with yet, namely how to deal with excruciating internal pain in her life. Although Hanson lacked a spiritual practice until two months before this book was written, she writes about how developing a relationship with God, which she refers to as Infinite Intelligence, transformed her life and taught her how to overcome pain in the world. She wrote this book because it felt true to her purpose. She wrote it for you so that you can experience impactful parts of her journey in the hopes that her journey helps you navigate through pain in your journey.
This book reveals what is possible with a strong mindset built around discipline, commitment, forgiveness, and faith as Hanson uses her past and present situations to explore her values and define herself. Hanson does a great job exposing her inner voice in a way that will help you understand how your own ways of thinking are setting limitations on you. The most powerful part of this book is how she artfully describes how she overcame her own resistance to find true self-love. The peace that her self-love brought her is the reason why she vulnerably reveals her wounds to the reader. She hopes that you will be inspired to courageously face your own inner pain to find self-love and attain inner peace. If you have no clue how it's possible for you to find self-love then you'll find what you're looking for in this book in what Laura calls the "Lavender and Honey Exercise."
Laura wrote this memoir shortly after her wife moved out and you will feel like you're right there alongside her in her journey as she discovers who she is in the process of healing. She reveals that after her wife left she set out to prove that she was unworthy of unconditional love. Her past is examined for proof and she dives deep into her experiences with abandonment for evidence. In doing so, she explores many painful past experiences, connected with being adopted, being a lesbian, divorcing her first wife, witnessing suicides, and the tragedy of an active shooter. It's apparent that she comes to terms with and heals from these events as she organizes her thoughts in the pages of this book.
The reader can also see Laura's faith growing stronger as she reveals the way God strengthens her patience and growth through hope and faith. Laura grew up without religion and took an agnostic approach to life up until two months before this was written, and she is transparent about her former lack of spirituality. This transparency helps to demonstrate how fascinating it is that her new relationship with God is ultimately responsible for her finally finding self-love and inner peace. Her relationship with God is strong and personal, and it's very intriguing to read about how the two communicate with each other in this journey.
This book is a must-read for anyone who knows what it's like to not belong.