Monday, May 28, 2007

Still in My Arms

The night before the burial of her husband’s body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of ‘Cat,’ and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted.” - Todd Heisler- The Rocky Mountain News

This is such a sad photo. The caption doesn't say it, but she's pregnant in this photo too. The article accompanying it is equally as riveting a read. It appeared in my hometown newspaper as few months ago and seemed fitting to share on Memorial Day.

I know, I know. I said I would be positive in this blog but I think it is important to acknowledge the very real, very sad realities of wars. After saying my prayer for this woman and her baby, I felt so lucky that everyone I love, including my husband, are still in my arms.

What these precious pre-deployment months have really triple reinforced in me is that time is too precious to waste waiting for "the right time" to say something or to be prideful about showing someone how you feel. It's too short to hestitate until it feels like "the perfect time" to do something (have a baby, get married,etc.). We just aren't given enough breath to stay angry, be crabby, or sullen or get mad over inconsequential things. Even if we are not a soldier, we can all disappear from the earth in an unexpected flash of time. We don't have enough opportunity to show people how much we love them or to tell them how nice it is to do such a simple thing as to sleep next to them at night.

What am I learning from this?

That life is still in my arms. Life on this earth is to be embraced with BOTH arms for every precious, tender moment that it offers us back. Every breathe of life and every moment we have to breathe it, is worth diamonds.

Friday, May 18, 2007

What I'm Learning from This......

As deployment day (D-Day) draws neigh on the horizon of my first year of marriage, I find that I am bracing myself and mentally creating a survival strategy without knowing what to expect. I'm one to anticipate needs before they arise, knowing that when trouble comes, I will already have plan A, B, & C in my back pocket. This is difficult when you don't know what to expect.

So the man it took 32 years to find is leaving for the same fifteen months of time that everyone else in the Army has to do. It is his second deployment to the sandbox, but his first as a married man. As a student of history, I have studied war my entire life, but I have never lived through it in this way. I want to do a good job. I want my new marriage to continue growing. I want....
Does it matter what I want?

As impossible as it may seem to accomplish, I have (perhaps foolishly) already determined that I will turn this next 15 months into a challenging experience of finding something positive in every single day. Now, I have always billed myself as an "optimistic realist, " so don't get me wrong. I believe this is will be difficult. I may fall on my face before you in this very blog....

...but I have theme for the next fifteen months of my life and marriage. When you have a theme, a cause, a mind-set, a prayer, a mantra - you can make it.

My mantra is this: What am I learning from this?

When I feel anything negative, I am going to ask myself this single question, over and over again. Life has a way of having to teach us the same lessons, and I suspect I will emerge having re-learned that which I already know. It may be that I simply have that knowledge tested at a deeper level and then re-emerge with an even greater understanding of the simple truths I already know....

That faith exercised in darkness is the only thing strong enought to trump fear of any kind, that an upward release of what you cannot control tempers the internal sense of loss, that God has our back, that life is bittersweet but is always leans towards the sweet side. And that ultimately, you become a stronger and more lovely woman when you accept and overcome life's hardness with a spirit of gentleness and abiding grace.

The interesting, gorgeous, wonderful friend I waited on for over 30 years is leaving to a dusty combat zone for 15 months right when I want to be with him, want him to be safe, want to laugh with him, want look into his eyes, want be a good wife to him, want to make a baby with him..... want (there's that word again)

What am I learning from this?

Loving someone is a stronger feeling than missing someone. I will miss him, but I will always love him more.