So we are two months into the deployment. I am happy to report that it has gone fast and that I am looking forward to a vacation with family in the next week. There is enough between now and then to hopefully have our departure date arrive quickly too.
I have already seen this community be more of a church than I have ever seen. It is strangely wonderful to have a friend here on post text me, or a neighbor come knock on my door when they have seen that Matt is looking for me on Facebook for a chat. I have seen friends step in and care for my kids when they could tell I needed a break. I have sat around a table, breaking bread with some wonderful women as we laughed hysterically about the strange things our husbands taught us before they left. Of course any knowledge is useful, but some strange lessons come the anxiety of men when they are about to leave their family for an extended amount of time. Of course, that is only matched by our (women's) behavior as we try to appear independent enough to handle it all and yet desperate for them to stay. But the beauty behind the community is in life. People are real here. They know how to live life, and if they take it for granted, soon learn not to. The focus here is on relationships, friendships made for life. These are the people that you faced the hardest times with and had to rely on. A matter of drinking alcohol here or saying a cuss word is not career breaking issues- in fact it almost seems an initiation into acceptance. In fact, it doesn't matter if you do or don't, but be prepared to show your true colors, because that's all that's wanted.
Already, I have experienced a piece of my calling here. Just this week we painfully lost one of our own and as the Care Team Coordinator, I had to prepare to follow up behind a team of soldiers who were to tell a spouse that her husband was gone. I believe that there is nothing worse I have ever felt than the anticipation of destroying one's world, except of course if it was me. It definitely brought the war a whole lot closer to home and has made it a lot more real to all of us. On my side of the street there are at least five houses in a row (including mine) that have deployed husbands. I will never look at a post or base the same way without looking at the homes and knowing the feelings within. There are feelings of guilt associated with why this one and why not mine? And yet, a feeling of gratefulness for safety thus far. And opportunities for fear to overtake you. I have seen women cry together, serve each other, and when there was nothing to give, a grace left room for them to be human.
This has probably been the most tiring weeks for me so far, but I finish it feeling God gave me words. I can only pray the same for Matt, that even more than I that God has given him words when he had none and purpose in a time of pain.