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Persevere: A Soldier's Blog

 

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After a recent pre-deployment trip to Australia, I remarked how our team was moving along, laughing at ourselves and the cultural differences while getting just the appetizer of being away from home. It is bittersweet, unlike the Kangaroo, which was delicious, by the way.

My desire for this page is to embrace that fact of military life. There are many things to enjoy and be excited about, opportunities that expand our appreciation of life and, yet, cause us to long for home, so we can share those moments with those we love most.

It is in those moments that leaders bring context and encouragement to the difficulties. We can reframe what it is we are all going through, and unite the team with the feeling of shared sacrifice. For me, I see it in the eyes of those who haven’t deployed and are anxious about being away, living in a foreign and hostile land, and wondering if they will be able to remain connected with home.

The short of it all is that we keep busy, keep on task and find something worthwhile to pour our energies towards, so that when we collapse on the bed at night, you don’t lay there trying to go to sleep, beginning to miss home. Sometimes the best phone conversations are at the verge of exhaustion where one collapses in the bed with the sound of their loved ones’ voice still ringing in their ear.

We are the main support for one another, because truly only we know how it feels and how to encourage one another. I find that “doing life” together solidifies the partnership that maintains us through difficulties and makes the good moments, great. We give more grace during stress, smile through adversity and ask “how can I help?” when we barely have anything left.

So yes, it is Team. Corie, Aidan, Jackson and I are a Team, here to cheer for you. To encourage you in difficulty and celebrate your triumphs.

Matthew

2012: A Facebook Odyssey

Pour myself a nice hot cup of French Press coffee, made just the way Santiago taught me how, and settle into the non-reclining office chair. Not that I have much complaint about the chair, though, compared to the many different places I found respite with last tour. I swore to Corie when I returned then that my biggest investment was going to be a nice leather recliner, which never happened, as a means to undo the uncomfortable positioning that naturally comes with deployment.

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She is in my Corner

I just finished watching "Warrior." My assistant had been recommending the movie for quite some time now, and even though my heart wasn't into watching a movie this morning, he plugged the computer into the TV and hit play, so I resigned myself to it. The Australian SF Chaplain (Kevin) and another soldier stopped by at different times and all stayed to watch it. In the end, I thanked Mike for playing a movie that made me want to sob like a baby. It's in my Top 10 list now.

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Peace in a Time of War

9 December 2012 - Chapel Service

The Peace tree was the means of response for chapel this week. I talked on how to have Peace in the midst of a storm, from John 14 and Philippians 4, reflecting on the story behind "It Is Well" and the tattered newspaper clipping from Faye's cupboard quoting "I do not ask for easy sailing, Dear God that's not my plea; but only for the courage, and strength to face the sea." Finally, let's all close by remembering the Buddhist priest on the edge of the sea, rescuing the scorpion from the rock: "I cannot let it's nature change mine." Thanks everyone, and remember, according to Christ, being at Peace does not entail a change of circumstances, but a change of heart. In this world you will have trouble, but take Heart, He has overcome the world.

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Wheels Up

Yesterday I got back up in the air, and it felt great. I forgot the excitement of hopping in a spun up bird and being whisked away to some new remote location to visit soldiers who sometimes emerge from their hooch  like cavemen walking out into the sunshine for the first time in weeks. You can see in the eyes of the first timers, this “drinking from the firehose” look where they are struggling to take it all in.

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Seeking Peace

Each year we are graded on our performance, simplified into bullet points that we are told extensively will dictate the path of our career and promotion-ability. It is a nerve-racking place to exist, to always be working towards quantification of your existence in an organization, and it isn’t just in the military, it’s everywhere. We are all being sized up by others, and we desire for others to like us and tell us how worthy we are. We cease living with reckless faith and begin to hedge our bets, becoming everyone under the sun except who it is that God desires us to be. All the while losing faith, compromising righteousness…miserably. It doesn’t seem to work for us.

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